Russia Considering Proposal To Join Missile Shield

"(BUSINEsSWEEK)
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says his country is considering a NATO proposal that Moscow take part in developing a U.S.-led anti-missile shield for Europe.

Medvedev says after a summit in France that ""we are evaluating this idea."" He warns however that the idea of a missile defense ""worries us"" and urges NATO members to consider its fundamental purpose. A decision may be reached at a NATO summit in Lisbon next month for the missile shield. Medvedev said Tuesday he will take part in that summit.

Washington has said the shield could protect Europe from potential attacks from Iran or North Korea. Russia questions the need for the missile defense, and has seen it as a threat.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below. DEAUVILLE, France (AP) -- Energy-rich Russia is pushing for visa-free access to Europe, while France and Germany are pushing for better European access to Russia's gas at a summit in Normandy on Tuesday.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is hosting Russia's Dmitry Medvedev and Germany's Angela Merkel for talks in the beach resort of Deauville in part to prepare for France's leadership of the Group of 20 leading global economies.

Discussions Monday night focused on Russia's bid for a greater voice in European security and foreign policy and Russia's relations with NATO. France and Germany are keen to include Russia in European security issues, while some in Washington and elsewhere in the EU have been less enthusiastic. Sarkozy's office says Tuesday's talks are focusing on ""human and economic"" relations between Russia and the EU.

Russia wants visa-free access to the 27 EU countries -- some of which are former Soviet republics or Cold War allies with which Moscow has had strained relations since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991."