WASHINGTON, March 16 (Itar-Tass) — The United States will continue to discuss the issue of guarantees that the US missile defence system in Europe, on which the two sides continue to disagree, is not directed against Russia. This statement was made on Thursday by US Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian affairs Philip H. Gordon. He gave an interview to Itar-Tass after his speech at the Bipartisan Policy Centre in Washington.
Gordon commented on a recent statement by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov about US intentions in the ·· missile defence sphere. On Wednesday, at the Government Hour session of questions and answers in the State Duma lower house of RF parliament, the minister said: “If the United States does not want to change anything in the missile defence plans, it should provide guarantees that it is not directed against Russia.”
The US assistant secretary of state recalled in this connection that that the United States has repeatedly made it clear that the missile defence system in Europe is not directed against Russia. It is directed against the threats emanating from outside of Europe, Gordon stressed.
He also noted that in the US view, this system will not undermine Russia’s nuclear deterrent possibilities. He said the US side calls for the preservation of strategic stability between the United States and Russia and has repeatedly given related assurances to the Russian partners, the US diplomat said.
The two sides continue to discuss their differences on the issue of the form in which such assurances should be provided, said Gordon, without going into details of the diplomatic consultations. Moscow stated earlier that it wanted to receive guarantees from the United States in a written form.
“We continue the dialogue on missile defence,” said the US assistant secretary of state, adding that the American delegation, headed by Special Envoy for Strategic Stability and Missile Defence Ellen Tauscher has visited Moscow this week. Together with RF Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov she participated in a meeting of the Working Group on Arms Control and International Security of the US-Russian Bilateral Presidential Commission.
According to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the meeting focused on the “discussion of issues of strategic stability and missile defence, especially in the context of plans to deploy the United States and NATO missile defence system in Europe.” Asked by Itar-Tass about Tauscher’s trip to Moscow, Gordon said that he is not familiar with its results so far.