BRUSSELS, November 14 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia and NATO need to understand where they can agree on missile defence, Russian permanent representative to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said ahead of a Russia-NATO Council meeting scheduled for November 15.
Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov will speak at the meeting to present “Moscow’s approaches to aerospace defence” and Russia’s position on conventional arms control in Europe.
The meeting has been preceded by consultations between Antonov and the heads of leading NATO diplomatic missions that focused “on the parameters of the upcoming missile defence debates”.
“We cannot speak of any progress at the talks so far, which has been admitted by the presidents of Russia and the United States in Honolulu. The U.S. is already implementing its missile defence programme despite Russia’s concerns and notwithstanding doubts and disagreements among its NATO allies,” Rogozin said on Monday, November 14.
“We need to understand what we can agree on at all in the current circumstances, maybe not the entire missile defence architecture, but at least the form of possible assurances or guarantees [that it will not be directed against Russia],” the permanent representative said.
He stressed that Russia insists not only on “written guarantees”, but also on guarantees of “a technical nature”.
Rogozin said, “The very configuration of NATO’s missile defence system should exclude its use against Russia”.
As an example, he mentioned Russia’s demand that “missile defence bases be deployed at such distance from the Russian border that would be no less than their operating range”.
He also noted that Antonov had met with Dirk Brengelmann, NATO Assistant Secretary General.
“We also expect our American colleagues to confirm consultations with Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defence for Policy James Miller who should come to Brussels as well,” Rogozin said.
“Unfortunately, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen will not be able to attend tomorrow’s events because of a hand injury,” he added.
Russia is showing flexibility on the missile defence system being created by NATO in Europe, but wants its guarantees that it will not be directed against Moscow, Rogozin said earlier.
“We cannot understand what NATO wants from us. We are a very flexible country with flexible diplomacy, and we can respond to changes in the situation in the world very sensitively and attentively. At first we said our strong 'no' to the third missile launch area in East European countries, but for some reason our Western partners did not like our 'no'. Then we listened to our Western friends and did as they asked. Now we say 'yes' to missile defence plans. But for some reason we hear the same old 'no' from the West in reply to our 'yes',” Rogozin said.
“We have our legitimate questions to our colleagues: why in creating the missile defence system does NATO want to protect us as well without our consent?” he asked, referring to the deployment and the range of operation of NATO's missile defence system in Europe.
“We respect how the United States and NATO will ensure the security of their allies. But we do not understand why is it proposed to deploy missile defence fire systems near the Russian border if these systems can reach all the way to the Urals Mountains?” Rogozin said.
Meanwhile, NATO is deploying a European missile defence system behind the ABM talks, chief of the Russian Army General Staff, General of the Army Nikolai Makarov said.
“Russia tried one more time to bring it home to the American side that despite all the talk about the creation of a missile defence system in Europe, its deployment is well underway,” Makarov said earlier.
“These unilateral steps being taken by the alliance do not add security and stability in the region,” he added.
“We must understand clearly what is being done, what for, and when,” Makarov said.
Based on the answers to these questions “we will be able to create conditions for further improvement of our relations”, he said.
The Kremlin is not dramatising the situation at the talks with the United States on American missile defence, a source in the presidential administration said earlier.
“There is always a chance to come to agreement. We are not dramatising the missile defence situation,” he told Itar-Tass.
Rasmussen described as “unnecessary” and “out of date” assertions that the missile defence system in Europe would spur a new arms race.
“Large parts of Russia, and many Russian citizens, face a missile threat too. And NATO is convinced that cooperating with Russia on missile defence is in the interest of all of us - NATO Allies, and Russia. It makes sense politically. It makes sense practically. And it makes sense militarily,” he said.
“What does NOT make sense, is for Russia to talk about spending billions of roubles on a new offensive system to target the West. This type of rhetoric is unnecessary. This type of thinking is out of date. This type of investment is a waste of money. Because, we are not a threat to Russia. We will not attack Russia. We will not undermine the security of Russia,” Rasmussen stressed.
“The threats to Russia come from elsewhere. And our invitation to cooperate on missile defence is proof of that,” he said.