Medvedev to EU, US: Don't Sideline Russia on Missile Defense

Discussion in 'Americas' started by nrj, May 15, 2011.

  1. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    MOSCOW - Systems to protect Europe from missile attack risk being ineffective and a threat to stability if they do not include Russia, President Dmitry Medvedev warned.

    The Kremlin said Medvedev has written a letter to NATO heads of state to make clear Russia's position on missile defense amid continued tensions with the West over the longstanding dispute.

    The letter appears to be a sign of growing frustration from Moscow that it is being sidelined by the West in discussions on the issue despite signs of progress late last year.

    "A European missile defense system can only be genuinely effective and viable if Russia participates in an equal way," the Kremlin quoted Medvedev as saying.

    Medvedev said it was necessary to be sure that the missile defense systems placed in Europe do not "disrupt strategic stability and will not be directed against either of the sides."

    Russia earlier this month reacted with concern to an agreement between the United States and Romania to place U.S. missile interceptors at a Soviet-built airbase in the EU member state.

    At a summit of NATO leaders in Lisbon in November, Medvedev proposed that Europe be divided into sectors of military responsibility, including one overseen by Russia and one by NATO, to better protect the continent.

    But so far the plan, which was hailed by Russian officials as a chance for a major breakthrough in Moscow-NATO ties, appears to have attracted little interest in the West.

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  3. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Russia Presses U.S. For Missile Security Safeguards

    MOSCOW - Russia said Monday it knew the proposed U.S. missile defense shield was not aimed at its territory but still needed legal assurances that this would remain the case in the future.

    Moscow formally demanded defense safeguards from Washington on May 3 after the United States reached an agreement to station anti-missile interceptors in Romania.

    The United States argues that the shield is aimed at protecting Europe from missile attacks from countries such as Iran and would have no effect against Russia's vast nuclear arsenal.

    But Moscow fears the shield could one day be deployed into a space-based weapon that could strike western and southern Russia.

    Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Monday that the United States had informed it that it had no plans to provide the security safeguards Russia sought.

    "We are disappointed with Washington's reaction," news agencies quoted the Russian diplomat as saying.

    "We understand that the sides have no intention of developing their offensive strategic capabilities against each other," Ryabkov said. "But we need safeguards that this is how things will remain in the future."

    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev stepped up the diplomatic pressure over the weekend by telling NATO heads of states in a letter that a European missile defense system could only be viable if Russia took part.

    He and U.S. President Barack Obama are set to meet on the sidelines of a Group of Eight leading industrialized nations' summit in France at the end of the month.

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