Russia-NATO missile shield talks stalled ahead of 2012 summit

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said on Monday that no agreements could be expected on the Russia-NATO missile shield project by the 2012 summit in Chicago.


Talks on the U.S. project designed as defense against possible attacks from Iran or North Korea have made no progress recently. Russia demands written guarantees that the shield would not be targeted against it.


“Chances that an agreement would be signed on legally binding guarantees that the NATO missile shield would not target Russia by the Russia-NATO Council summit in Chicago in May 2012 are dwindling with every day,” Grushko said. He added that Russia, however, was determined to continue consultations and search for practical solutions.


“Some countries in the alliance say they cannot entrust Russia with their security because it is not part of the [NATO] collective defense system,” Grushko said, adding that this logic was old-fashioned.


“It does not correspond to the principles we are promoting in the Russia-NATO Council and which we use in our practical cooperation with NATO,” he said.


He said the Russia-U.S. cooperation in the project was also delayed because Washington continues to pursue its policy, regardless of Russia’s objections. He said the U.S. had already signed bilateral deals on deploying elements of the missile shield in Romania, Poland and Spain.


He said Russia wanted specific guarantees on paper, which should include the system’s configuration, the location of the units, the speed of the interceptors and other aspects.


“The new phase in negotiations [after 2010] was meant to build a joint missile shield system, which would unite real resources of Russia and NATO against common threats,” Grushko said.


He also said that if the negotiations make progress at some point, the new missile shield system would “become a decisive step toward realizing principles of integrated security, a common space of security in the Euroatlantic region, or speaking in broader terms, in the Eurasian region from Vancouver to Vladivostok.”


The former U.S. Republican Administration of George W. Bush said Washington intended to deploy missile defense elements in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic. Moscow saw this as a direct threat to its strategic potential. Current U.S. President Barack Obama has changed the missile shield strategy and decided to postpone the project but has not given it up, which has also caused Russian criticism.


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