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RF not shun discussions on missile defence

November 19, 2011, 18:50 UTC+3

We do not see any progress in the U.S. position – Lavrov

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BALI, Indonesia, November 19 (Itar-Tass) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow would not shun discussions on missile defence.

At the same time, Lavrov said Russia would defence its position on the need to receive guarantees under which European missile defence would not be targeted against Russia.

After the meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Saturday, the Russian minister said, “We are not closing the door. We will continue the work with the United States, including within the Russia-NATO Council. But we seek to work strictly by relying on our position on the need to receive guarantees that missile defence is not targeted against Russia.”

“On the initiative of Clinton we’ve touched on missile defence issues in what our presidents talked about in Honolulu. We note that our positions remain unchanged. We say it is necessary to continue the talks,” Lavrov said.

“We will not shun the discussion. We do not see any progress in the U.S. position. It refuses to sign a document on clear guarantees that missile is not targeted against Russia and against its strategic nuclear potential and refuses to work out corresponding military-technical and other criteria, which will ensure these guarantees,” the Russian foreign minister stressed.

Earlier, Lavrov said, “We don’t see any way out because the unilateral plan on creating global U.S. missile defence [it will be NATO’s but the plan will be drawn up using American templates] is realising. The agreements are being signed. Ground facilities, intercept bases and radars are being set up.” “One states that there will no restrictions on this system. By asking a question why one should penetrate deep in the north, an answer says it should be. They answer our argument related to Iran’s disability to launch anything in the air what can reach northern bases – maybe, it will be in the future and we should foresee any situation.” “However, all this is within the position that was told us earlier – don’t worry, this is not aimed against you. Such stance cannot satisfy us,” Lavrov pointed out.

“At our meetings with Americans our position was clear. President Medvedev told [U.S. President Barack] Obama that we’d like to receive any guarantees.” “These guarantees should be clear on the paper,” the Russian minister stressed. “One can long talk about any hypothetic obstacles from the Congress, but none has tried to give Russia these guarantees,” Lavrov pointed out.

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 its 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.

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

Lavrov said that Russia and NATO had failed to agree on sectoral missile defence, but there are other possibilities to agree. “Russia and NATO fail to agree on a sectoral approach. Our partners from the Alliance say they have obligations under the Washington Mutual Defence Treaty. These obligations cannot be delegated to anyone,” Lavrov said.

“We interpret this as reality. However, we believe that there are possibilities to work jointly,” Lavrov stressed.

Despite the serious disagreements, the sides intend to continue the dialogue on missile defence and search for mutually advantageous solutions. “We are committed to implementing the decisions of the Lisbon summit when the Russia-NATO Council leaders stated their intention to build strategic partnership on the basis of equality, predictability and transparency, and on the basis of the principle of security indivisibility. We are committed to implementing these decisions,” Lavrov stressed.

“We want equal security to be guaranteed to all Euro-Atlantic states no matter they are members or not of military alliances. This is the essence of the initiative put forth by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev who has proposed to sign a new European security treaty,” the minister noted.

“The development of events convinces us that this initiative continues to be relevant. To this end, we discussed European missile defence.” “The project is directly linked to the security level in Euro-Atlantic states. We’d like to make it a joint project, which would help radically change the rules of game.” “This would be a real step towards creating a common space of peace, security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic region,” the minister pointed out.

“We believe that it is very important to solve certain problems. Firstly, all participants would guarantee that missile defence is not aimed against any of its participants. Secondly, we believe that it is necessary to work out the criteria, which would allow us to assess how the missile defence system being created by NATO in Europe would conform to the goals of the project, i.e. to ward off threats, which can come from the Euro-Atlantic zone,” Lavrov said.

“And of course, it is important to ensure the equal participation of all members of the Russia-NATO Council in working out concepts and an architecture of future European missile defence, to agree on confidence-building measures and transparency during the whole period of our work,” the Russian foreign minister concluded.

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