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MOSCOW, March 23 (Itar-Tass) — A Russia-NATO summit, which was scheduled in May, is cancelled. According to the official version, the summit was cancelled over “an intensive domestic political calendar in Russia.” However, the experts believe that this step is caused by disagreements of the parties concerned over the European missile defence system.
The Russia-NATO summit has stalled over the European missile defence system, the Kommersant daily reported. Experts noted that the decision to cancel a May meeting between Vladimir Putin and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen is linked with the disagreement over the vital issue. This is the missile defence system in Europe. The Russia-NATO summit was scheduled in Chicago in May, the newspaper recalled. However, the NATO general secretary stated that the summit will not be held at the scheduled time. He called as the reason “an intensive domestic political calendar in Russia.” The negotiators have nothing to say to each other, this is why the summit was postponed, director of the Institute of Strategic Planning and Forecasting Alexander Gusev noted.
“The postponement of the Russia-NATO summit is certainly linked with a quite serious political situation, primarily in Europe, over the deployment of the European missile defence along the borders with Russia. The question was certainly not settled. This primarily concerns relations between Russia and the EU states, so, the places, where the European missile defence systems will be deployed,” he noted. “I would like the summit to be held. All parties are interested in this, namely the United States, the NATO leadership, the EU states and Russia in the same way.”
The participation of the Russian president in the Russia-NATO summit was doubted already for several months, the Vedomosti noted. The Russian Foreign Ministry linked his visit to Chicago with the negotiations over the European missile defence system. In December 2011 Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov explained that a summit will depend from its substantial agenda. “If we had agreed on the missile defence by this time, it would have been easier for us to take a decision in favour of the summit,” Ryabkov said. For his part, Rasmussen acknowledged that the negotiators did not reach any progress in the negotiations.
Russia demands from NATO to give legally-binding guarantees for the European missile defence system not targeted against Russia and offer its own configuration of a common missile defence system for Russia and the West, the newspaper recalled. NATO representatives insist that Russia’s concerns are groundless. The European missile defence is not targeted against Russia, but against rogue states, primarily Iran, which is developing actively its nuclear program.
The decision to cancel the summit is correct and positive, chief editor of the Russia in Global Politics magazine Fyodor Lukyanov is cited by the Vedomosti as saying. If Putin had come to Chicago all the same, the predicted words on Russia’s dissatisfaction with the European missile defence architecture voiced two weeks after the inauguration would set a negative keynote to the relations between Russia and the West in years to come. This would be a bad start, both sides understand this, cancelling the meeting, Lukyanov stated.
A substantial dialogue before the presidential elections in the US in 2013 is impossible, the missile defence is not the issue for the pre-election year, the political scientist believes. If a Republican candidate wins, the negotiations will stop at all, if Obama is re-elected, the negotiators will get back to the positions, when the negotiations were suspended.