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WASHINGTON, December 16 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia will decide whether it will participate in the NATO summit next year after the presidential election in March and much will depend on progress in the missile defense issue, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters on Thursday.
“It is clear that without progress in the missile defense issue other aspects of Russia-NATO relations, no matter how important they may be, cannot provide substantial contents for the summit,” he said.
Ryabkov added that so far “the issue (of participation) has not been discussed and will be discussed after the substance of the summit becomes clear.”
“So far I do not see such substance,” he said evidently referring to a deadlock in missile defense controversy.
“From the point of view of the schedule it is clear that a real discussion of the issue will begin after we hold the presidential election. However it is not the question of time for the decision making, but the question of substance. If we agree on a missile defense scheme that suits us the chances for the holding of the summit will increase. If we do not agree it will not matter in which month – January, March, or April – the absence of an agreement will be admitted,” Ryabkov said.