Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Russia Does Not See Imminent Antimissile Pact With U.S.

Russia Does Not See Imminent Antimissile Pact With U.S.

October 6th 2011 6:12 AM

Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said he does not expect ongoing discussions regarding missile defense collaboration between his country and the United States to deliver an accord for signing by the nations’ presidents when they meet in Hawaii next month, Reuters reported on Monday (see GSN, Oct. 3).

Presidents Obama and Dmitry Medvedev are anticipated to hold talks on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific summit.

The sides are looking for opportunities to collaborate on erecting a NATO missile shield for Europe. However, Moscow is demanding a unified antimissile system while the Western military bloc wants two separate but connected complexes.

The Obama administration has proposed joint work on defense systems as well as the establishment of two collaborative facilities — one that would assess information on potential missile threats and one that would allow the United States and Russia to take defensive action should a missile launch be detected from another nation.

The Russian diplomat said while the Kremlin appreciates the offer on joint centers, it would still lobby for a specific, legally enforceable pledge that the planned NATO shield would not be aimed at its strategic nuclear arms.

“This is what the struggle is about now,” Ryabkov told the government-run Rossiiskaya Gazeta. “It’s impossible to say that we’ve made strong progress on this.”

U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Beyrle recently said he was certain that NATO and Russia would reach an agreement on antimissile collaboration by May, when the alliance is scheduled to conduct its next summit in Chicago.

Moscow has both threatened to pull out of the New START nuclear arms control treaty with Washington and to augment its strategic arsenal if a deal cannot be reached on the matter.

“There is still time for negotiations, but it is limited,” Russian envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said in an Interfax report (Steve Gutterman, Reuters, Oct. 3).

Beyrle met with Ryabkov on Friday to discuss antimissile issues, Interfax reported.

“The parties discussed the current agenda of the U.S.-Russia relations, as well as a number of pressing issues regarding international security, including the course of the bilateral dialogue on the missile defense issue,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a released statement (Interfax I, Oct. 3).

While Washington is optimistic an agreement can be reached on the issue, Moscow is more doubtful, Interfax reported.

An insider at the Kremlin told the influential Kommersant newspaper “there is no chance to reach an agreement. Now we should either build our missile defense or enlarge our nuclear potential” (Interfax II, Oct. 3).

Rogozin told journalists that the “European antimissile defense system is unthinkable without Russian participation,” the Xinhua News Agency reported (Xinhua News Agency, Oct. 3).

The envoy said his government “does not understand the U.S. motives” for fielding advanced missile interceptors in Poland. “If the U.S. fears Iran, what’s that got to do with Poland?” ITAR-Tass reported.

The European missile shield is intended primarily to counter a potential ballistic missile attack from Iran. Washington recently reached agreements with Poland, Romania and Turkey to deploy antimissile components on their territories in accordance with the Obama administration’s “phased adaptive approach” for missile defense on the continent.

Rogozin said he was prepared to travel to Iran should the government there “allow a dialogue with people who take decisions.”

“We will fly to Iran when Tehran gives information on the format [of the talks],” the Kremlin’s point man for European missile defense said. “It should be political and not diplomatic.”

Rogozin has said the Western military bloc should rely first on diplomatic, political and financial measures in seeking to resolve the dispute over Iran’s controversial nuclear development. “If these arguments are useless, force is worth using” he said.

Western governments suspect Tehran is working toward a nuclear weapon while Iran insists its atomic activities are strictly peaceful.

Russian and U.S. “views on Iran’s missile threat diverge — we have different positions on stages for creating missiles and on their range,” the diplomat said (ITAR-Tass, Oct. 3).

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