MOSCOW, January 18 (Itar-Tass) — Russia and the United States are not on the threshold of arms race, but it is difficult to understand Washington’s motives on missile defence, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a press conference on Wednesday.
“I don’t think that we are on the threshold of ‘any arms race’ or the Cold War,” Lavrov said. “The Cold War ended long ago. Russia and the United States are not rivals. We cooperate rather closely in the issues related to international security. Confrontation, of course, is not our choice and I don’t think that reasonable political scientists in the U.S. want any confrontation,” he noted.
According to the minister, if the U.S. continues the deployment of missile defence in any configuration, risks can be created to the Russian strategic nuclear forces. “Our logic is rather simple and clear. If weapons, which are capable of undermining the strategic parity, are deployed near our borders, we will take adequate measures,” Lavrov said.
In addition, the minister said Russian-U.S. cooperation did not restrict by military-strategic partnership. “In the past 20 years we did much to bring our dialogue beyond military-political issues that had dominated in our relations during the Cold War period. In the last three years the presidential commission, which included 20 working groups in all fields – from international security to civil interaction – worked actively.” “Over half of these groups are designed to develop scientific-technical and economic cooperation, including agriculture, energy, nuclear power, innovation and space. Last year our trade turnover reached the record – 30 billion U.S. dollars. Investments are expanding and this is becoming ‘opposing traffic roads’. Moscow also valued the U.S. support for Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) what enriched our agenda on bilateral cooperation,” the minister stated.
Bilateral humanitarian contacts are also expanding. “In November we concluded a visa-free agreement, which should come into effect soon. The agreement envisages issuing visas to tourists and all who travels as guests and as businessmen. The agreement also envisages issuing multiple visas for the term of three years with the possibility to stay in the country throughout six months. I believe that this will step up our exchanges and should be a step towards visa-free travel with the United States. We’ve put forth such initiative,” Lavrov stressed. “Our cultural cooperation is not limited by signing such agreements,” he added.
On bilateral issues, Lavrov named the adoption of Russian children. “We signed an agreement saying it was necessary to be responsible for the fate of adoptive children. It should enter into force soon,” he said.
In general, Russian-American cooperation “is not restricted by only military-strategic affairs and this tendency will strengthen”, the Russian minister pointed out.