GENEVA, March 20 (Itar-Tass) – The United States has not changed the position on missile defence and Russia’s stance remains unchanged, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said.
After the two-day talks with U.S. Acting Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller, Ryabkov told Itar-Tass: “We don’t see any concessions from the United States. Thus, Russia’s approach towards missile defence remains unchanged.”
“The most important aspect is to sign a legally binding agreement under which the U.S. missile defence is not directed against Russia’s strategic nuclear forces. There are no changes in the U.S. position. So, our approach remains unchanged,” Ryabkov said.
“The Pentagon’s decision to give up the 4th stage of missile defence deployment in Europe proves the assessment of a missile threat, primarily the changes in North Korea’s missile programme and the problem related to the U.S. budget where there are certain restrictions.” “Russia and the U.S. intend to continue the dialogue. But it is timely to talk about any results,” the Russian high-ranking diplomat stressed.
The talks also focused on the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program and on ways “to work on this issue in the future”, Ryabkov said, adding that the consultations touched on the activity of the Conference on Disarmament, the creation of nuclear-free zones in different regions of the world and the non-proliferation regimes.