Thursday, August 16, 2007

Ahmadinejad Denounces US Missile Defense Shield at SCO Summit

Via Fars News (Iran) -

TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said a proposed US missile defense shield in central Europe would threaten "all Asia".

"Such a plan goes beyond threatening one country. It concerns most of the continent, all Asia," he said at a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Ahmadinejad spoke at the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which includes Russia, China and four ex-Soviet Central Asian countries. Iran has observer status in the SCO.
Russia has vehemently objected to US plans to place elements of a missile-defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic, saying the system could be used against Russia and would wreck the strategic balance of forces in Europe.

The United States says the system is intended to head off the threat of possible missile attacks by rogue countries, including Iran.

Russian President Vladimir Putin in turn told the summit that "any attempts to solve global and regional problems unilaterally are hopeless," and called for "strengthening a multi-polar international system that would ensure equal security and opportunities for all countries."

He did not mention the United States by name, but the comments echoed Russia's frequent complaints that the United States dominates world affairs.

The phrase "multi-polar" is often used by Russia to push for efforts to counter the United States' power.

The SCO summit in the capital of Kyrgyzstan was being watched closely by Washington. The United States maintains an air base near the capital, and the SCO previously has called for a timetable to be set for withdrawing American military elements from member countries.

The SCO emerged 11 years ago to address extremism and border security issues in Central Asia.

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