Senior U.S. diplomat to discuss missile defense in Moscow

A senior U.S. negotiator with Russia on missile defense will hold a round of talks in Moscow on October 11-14, the U.S. Department of State said.


“Ellen Tauscher, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security will be in Moscow from Oct 11-14,” the State Department said in a statement. “During her visit she is scheduled to meet with Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov to continue discussions on missile defense cooperation.”


Russia and NATO have agreed at a Russia-NATO summit in Lisbon in November 2010 to work on the missile shield but NATO wants it to be based on two independent systems that exchange information, while Russia favors a joint system with full-scale interoperability.


Moscow also demands legally binding guarantees that NATO missile defense systems will not be directed against it. NATO insists that such guarantees are unnecessary.


“We suggested that the best way for the Russians to see and understand the ballistic missile defense system is cooperation,” Tauscher said last Friday in Romania, where Washington is planning to deploy its SM-3 interceptor missiles as part of the European missile shield.


The European missile shield issue is widely considered a tester for the future of Russian-U.S. relations, especially in light with the upcoming general and presidential elections in both countries.


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