RF insists on guarantees in missile defence cooperation – Lavrov

MOSCOW, September 1 (Itar-Tass) — In order to develop successful missile defence cooperation it is necessary to guarantee that any military actions are not targeted against any other Euro-Atlantic state, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

In the meeting with students and professors of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) on Thursday, Lavrov said, “We rivet special attention to the situation in the Euro-Atlantic region. Last November member-countries of the Russia-NATO Council gathered in Lisbon. They agreed that our cooperation should be based on equal indivisible security, predictability, transparency, mutual respect and mutual interests.”

“Now it is necessary to make sure that these principles are consistently put into effect,” Lavrov noted.

“Life proved that political assurances are insufficient. For instance, NATO assured us that it would not expand to the East… Now this infrastructure is filled with components of U.S. missile defence. In July 2009 Presidents of Russia and the United States, Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama, agreed to join efforts in missile defence starting from the analysis of challenges and threats. We put forth concrete proposals on the parameters of this work. Then we held long consultations within the bilateral format and within the Russia-NATO Council. Unfortunately, no results have been yielded.” “In the meantime, European missile defence is created in the parameters that the U.S. worked out. It can pose a threat to Russian strategic nuclear forces by the end of the noughties. And none wants to guarantee us that American-NATO missile defence is targeted against Russia,” he stated.

“Equal indivisible security is essential for the Euro-Atlantic region and the Asia-Pacific Region where the infrastructure of U.S. global system is being created as well. The region also set the task to coordinate positions on comprehensive security and cooperation architecture based on the legal and non-block principles by taking into account the interests of all states.” “In order to achieve this goal the Russian and Chinese leaders put forth an initiative in September 2010,” the Russian minister pointed out.

“We hope that the East Asia Summit, which Russia will be involved in this year, will facilitate the promotion in this aspect,” Lavrov said.

Meanwhile, Moscow insists on legally binding guarantees that the missile defence system being created by the United States and NATO in Europe won’t be aimed against it, the Foreign Ministry said on Saturday, August 13.

This issue was raised at a meeting between Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and U.S. Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher in St. Petersburg on Friday, August 12. They co-chair the working group on arms control and international security within the Russian-American Presidential Commission.

“The main attention was paid to the discussion of missile defence issues. The Russian side stressed the importance of ensuring legally binding guarantees that the missile defence system being created by the United States and NATO won’t be aimed against Russia’s strategic nuclear forces,” the ministry said.

Ryabkov and Tauscher also discussed “some other issues on the current international agenda in the field of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and arms control”, the ministry said.

Tauscher said earlier that the United States was preparing for talks with Russia on further nuclear arms cuts, seeking to consolidate positive results achieved in this field.

She recalled that two years ago in Prague U.S. President Barack Obama had declared America’s commitment to “to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said there was no need for a legally binding agreement with Russia that would guarantee that their missile defence systems were not directed against each other.

Speaking after a meeting of the Russia-NATO Council in the Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi in early July, Rasmussen said he was convinced that all 28 NATO member states would have signed a statement pledging not to use force against each other.

Rasmussen said he personally did not think there was a need for a legally binding agreement to this effect.

In his opinion, Russia and NATO need tactical cooperation instead.

“Russia says it wants guarantees. We can give these by agreeing that our systems will not undermine the strategic balance. That they will strengthen each others security – and not weaken it,” Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen expressed confidence that “the best guarantee for Russia is to be part of the process. And to be connected to the system. We should focus on actual cooperation, not abstract questions. This is the best way to enhance transparency and confidence. And it builds up the mutual trust that is necessary to take the key decisions we need to take”.

NATO and Russian Defence Ministers met in late June to discuss the next steps in our missile defence cooperation. “We all understand that the foundation for our cooperation must be confidence and trust,” Rasmussen said.

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