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US not looking for balance of interests with Russia on missile shield issues — Lavrov

October 02, 2015, 9:12 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Russia and US-led NATO have been in a long dispute over US missile shield plans in Europe
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MOSCOW, October 2. /TASS/. The United States is not displaying its readiness to reach the balance of interests with Russia concerning the issues of the American missile shield plans, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with the Venezuelan state television.

"There are situations when we are ready to actively seek consensus on the most difficult global problems and the Iranian problem was considered almost unresolvable," Lavrov said. "But from time to time our partners are not ready for talks, without which it is impossible to reach consensus. For example it is the US missile shield plans."

The top Russian diplomat said that since 2007 President Vladimir Putin repeatedly spoke with then-President of the United States George Bush on the issue and "proposed him various options of the joint work on the creation of the anti-missile defense from all risks, which can evolve in the sphere of missile proliferation."

"We were told that they were ready for such joint work," Lavrov said. "But then it all ended up with Americans laying on the table their own plan, which raised serious concerns among our military officers since it was detrimental to our security, posed risks to our system of nuclear deterrence and then we were told that the ‘plan covers any concern that might arise among us’ and proposed cooperation basing on that plan. In other words, it was more like an ultimatum," Lavrov said.

"Of course, no cooperation followed as a result," Lavrov said. "It was not because we did not want to, but because the Americans did not display at all their readiness for search of balance of interests and only insisted that their vision of the task should be followed without any alterations."

Russia and US-led NATO have been in a long dispute over US missile shield plans in Europe, which the United States said was aimed to defend its allies from possible missile threats emerging from Iran and North Korea.

Russia viewed the deployment of the missile shield near its borders as a threat to its national security and in 2011 then-President Dmitry Medvedev announced a set of measures to counter the US-proposed missile defense system in Europe. The measures particularly included the construction of new air-defense radar systems and deployment of Iskander missiles in Russia’s Kaliningrad Region, which borders on Europe.

Infographics US missile defense system and NATO European Missile Defense System US missile defense system and NATO European Missile Defense System

The US has announced plans to reject the deployment of the fourth stage of the missile defense system in Europe and to refocus towards protection against potential North Korea missile attacks. Infographics by TASS

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