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Moscow advises West to ask direct questions on military issues — Lavrov

June 09, 2015, 18:14 UTC+3 MOSCOW
"In principal, we consider it absolutely counter-productive and harmful to escalate militarist rhetoricr," the foreign minister stressed
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, June 9. /TASS/. Moscow is studying reports about US plans to deploy ballistic missiles in Europe and Asia, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday, answering a TASS question.

"I prefer professional detailed approach, without improvising," Lavrov said. "We hear these statements [about US plans to deploy ballistic missiles in Europe and Asia], we are studying them. It is important to understand here who said precisely what because sometimes such statements are taken out of context," he continued. "The issues are too serious to react, how they say it, ‘offhandedly’," he added, commenting on TASS’ request on US General Martin Dempsey’s statement about US intention to deploy guided and ballistic missiles in Europe and Asia.

"In principal, we consider it absolutely counter-productive and harmful to escalate militarist rhetoric, especially considering that all our partners unanimously state that they do not want to return to the times of the Cold War," the foreign minister stressed. "If it is really like that, than they probably need to be more careful in their statements," he noted.

"However, it is inevitable in practical terms that concerns arise on issues related to military construction, and these concerns are always solvable, and we need to continue solving them through direct honest dialogue," Lavrov said.

"We had such opportunities with all our Western partners both in the bilateral format and in the framework of Russia-NATO Council," he stressed. "All these channels of communication at the level of defense ministries were frozen not on our initiative, but on the initiative of our partners, including mechanisms which we had with Britons and Americans in the ‘2 plus 2’ format, when foreign ministers and defense ministers [regularly] met," Lavrov noted.

"Apart from that, there were channels of direct communication between military," the foreign minister reminded. "If there are questions about this or that military sphere then go ahead, ask these questions directly, and you will get explanations," he said.

"Lately, US secretary of state, when he visited Russia, and NATO secretary general, when we met in the framework of international events, expressed interest toward resuming contacts in the military sphere," Lavrov said. "If there is such interest, then they should offer this officially, and we will consider such proposals constructively. However, I will repeat that it was not us who stopped these contacts," he noted.

"I am far from the thought that the contacts were frozen intentionally, to aggravate suspicions in the media about the intentions of the Russian Federation," Lavrov concluded.

Russia does not intend to breach INF Treaty

US actions in the framework of global missile defense system directly violate the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told journalists on Tuesday.

"Precisely considering the INF Treaty, our American colleagues have long been asking questions on how responsibly we implement the document," Lavrov said. "We answer that there is a mechanism of Russian-American consultations on reviewing the agreement and possible complaints. We asked the Americans to formulate precisely their complaints and concerns about the Russian Federation," he noted.

The foreign minister said he regrets the fact that over the two rounds of consultations, US failed to specify their suspicions neither at the level of preparations nor during the consultations themselves.

"They only say, ‘You test-launched a rocket, you know what we are talking about’," he continued. "But this not a serious talk. We will be ready to consider concrete evidence that gives Americans grounds to think that we violated something," Lavrov stressed.

"We have formulated our rather concrete questions to the American side that we think that a number of actions it takes, including in the framework of deploying the global missile defense system, directly violate the INF Treaty," Lavrov said.

"I still confirm this officially. We are open for an honest, but specific, not unsubstantiated dialogue in order to remove any concerns," Lavrov stressed. "We do not have any intentions to break this agreement," he added.

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