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No movement in RF-NATO talks on missile defence – Lavrov

October 26, 2011, 13:39 UTC+3

At the same time, Lavrov stressed that till now there had been no movement in the talks on missile defence

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MOSCOW, October 26 (Itar-Tass) — There is no movement in the Russia-NATO talks on missile defence, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

After the talks with Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn on Wednesday, Lavrov said, “We discussed security issues within the context of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s initiative on a new European security treaty. Russia is convinced that the current situation, including the efforts on U.S. missile defence plans, makes the idea of common security indivisibility guarantees more pressing.”

“We will continue the work with NATO partners in this aspect,” the Russian minister noted.

At the same time, Lavrov stressed that till now there had been no movement in the talks on missile defence. “There is no movement on the Russia-U.S. track or in Russian-NATO relations,” he added.

Earlier, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Moscow is ready to continue a dialogue on missile defence with NATO.

At the same time, the diplomat said, “The Alliance’s unwillingness to guarantee that the European missile defence system is not targeted against Russia leaves us asking questions. These questions were determined by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev who asked them to his colleagues.”

Russia “is ready to continue the dialogue and search for common approaches. I wouldn’t like to think of a scenario when there is no agreement and Europe will draw years back instead of building the common security space”, Lukashevich said.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said NATO is not ready to accept Russia’s proposals on sectoral missile defence in which Russia will ensure missile security of a part of NATO’s territory.

Rasmussen made it clear that NATO would not ensure is own security using external sources.

At the same time, he said that the dialogue with Russia is evolving naturally, each side has its own interests, and they need time to find a mutually acceptable solution.

“Over 30 countries already have, or are developing, a ballistic missile capability. NATO has decided to build a system to defend itself against this threat. Russia is also concerned about missile proliferation and so it makes sense for us to work together,” he said.

The Secretary-General suggested that NATO and Russia should build two independent missile defence systems. “We want real cooperation with Russia on missile defence. Our vision is two independent systems with one goal. Two systems that would exchange information to make the defence of NATO territory and of Russian territory more effective,” he said.

Rasmussen stressed that the alliance would not give legal guarantees that its missile defence would not be directed against Russia’s strategic capabilities.

In his opinion, the best guarantee for Russia would be participation in an open and sincere cooperation in order to reach the necessary level of trust.

Rasmussen said NATO posed no threat to Russia and was not considering it as a threat.

“What we have in mind is cooperation between two independent missile defence systems. If we achieve this, it will be a tangible demonstration that NATO and Russia can build security together, rather than against each other,” he said earlier.

Rasmussen expressed confidence earlier that Russia and NATO could come to consensus on missile defence.

Commenting on his Deputy James Appathurai’s statement that the alliance was not prepared to create a joint sectoral missile defence with Russia, Rasmussen said his statement only confirmed NATO’s position adopted at the Lisbon Summit on November 19-20, 2010.

NATO has decided to start exploring possibilities for cooperation in the field of missile defence with Russia and suggested that Russia should protect its territory and NATO should protect its own territory in close cooperation with each other.

The matter is still under discussion, and both sides are making proposals.

Rasmussen expressed confidence that Moscow and Brussels will be able to come to a compromise that will provide a join response to common challenges.

NATO Secretary General's Special Representative for the South Caucasus and Central Asia James Appathurai said it would be possible to devise a mechanism for cooperation with Russian within the framework of the missile defence system being created in Europe.

NATO and Russia have a shared understanding of what this system should look like -- there should be operational compatibility, cooperation, trust, and transparency, Appathurai said at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

An understanding has been reached in some areas, he added.

He said Russia wants guarantees that phases 3 and 4 of missile defence deployment will not undermine its strategic deterrence capabilities.

Appathurai said that NATO had neither intention nor possibility to create a system that would undermine Russia’s deterrence capabilities.

Medvedev proposed sectoral missile defence at the Russia-NATO Summit in Lisbon in November 2010.

However Appathurai ruled out a joint sectoral missile defence system with Russia.

He said NATO was closely watching Russian leaders’ statements and was aware of its responsibility for protecting its member states and could not transfer this responsibility to anyone.

In his opinion, Russia cannot allow itself to be guarded by anyone either and for that reason does not intend to delegate responsibility for its security.

According to Appathurai, the dialogue on missile defence involved the construction of completely independent but coordinated missile defence systems, which he said should be transparent and reliable.

There should be no doubt that NATO is more interested to ensure the transparency of these systems, he added.

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