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Snowden situation has no effect Russia - U.S. missile defense talks

August 14, 2013, 13:30 UTC+3

Deputy Defense Minister: Snowden issue discussed, but irrelevant to practical U.S.-Russia cooperation

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Anatoly Antonov. Photo ITAR-TASS/ Sergei Karpov

Anatoly Antonov. Photo ITAR-TASS/ Sergei Karpov

MOSCOW, August 14 (Itar-Tass) - Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said the situation around former CIS employee Edward Snowden has not affected Russian-U.S. missile defense talks.

"I did not feel that the Snowden problem influenced the talks. I assure you that when Pentagon or Russian Defense Ministry representatives meet, we do not engage in politics; we focus on military and technological aspects of a particular problem, be it missile defence or control over conventional weapons in Europe," Antonov said.

He underlined that the Defense Ministry's objective for such meetings is to work out "an algorithm for solution of a certain problem, and suggest it to Russia's political leaders."

"Of course, Snowden issue could not be avoided. It would have been wrong for me to say that I knew nothing about it; never heard about it and never seen anything: of course, the Snowden problem was discussed at our meetings," Antonov said in comments regarding the Russian-US "two plus two" talks in Washington last week.

"I'm sure that /U.S. Defense Secretary/ Mr Hagel is open to practical cooperation with Russia," Antonov said. One of the issues which brings Russia and the U.S. together is the upcoming withdrawal of coalition forces from Afghanistan in 2014. "I'm sure that after our colleagues from the U.S. Department of State and the Pentagon return from their holidays, we'll have very constructive meetings during which we'll look for solutions of regional and global security problems," Russian deputy defense minister said.

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