No veto for Russia on missile shield --US official

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BERLIN, Oct 24 (Reuters) A senior US official today said Washington's offer to delay activation of its missile defence shield in Europe in exchange for cooperation from Russia did not imply Moscow had a veto.

US Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried said Washington was committed to the plan to install interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar system in the Czech Republic.

''We would not give the Russians a veto, we will not ask Russia's permission to turn it on -- that was never part of out thinking,'' he told reporters in Berlin.

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates yesterday said Washington had proposed delaying the activation of parts of the shield if Russia were to cooperate on it.

Washington says it needs the system to counter possible attacks from ''rogue states'' such as Iran but Russia opposes the plans, arguing it would threaten its own security.

Fried said the United States had shown more willingness than before to discuss the details of an offer to cooperate with Russia on the system.

He said cooperation could greatly increase security for both Europe and Russia. Washington was happy to be open about questions such as how to assess the threat of Tehran's long-range missiles.

REUTERS SG RK1844

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