четверг, 13 ноября 2008 г.

Missile plans not set in stone, Medvedev says

Under certain conditions, Russia could drop its plans to station missiles in its Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, President Dmitry Medvedev told the French newspaper Le Figaro.
Moscow’s move was admittedly a comeback to Washington’s unilateral decision to base its anti-missile shield in Eastern Europe. But, as Medvedev has now said, “We can give up our plans altogether.”

This can only happen, however, if “the new U.S. administration analyzes all the consequences of deploying the missiles and radars, analyzes their efficiency and many other factors, including the adequacy of these measures as a reaction to threats from so-called rogue states.”

“In my annual address to the parliament- which is only delivered once a year - I couldn’t help but react to a number of serious political events and threats faced by our country. One of them is the decision by the current U.S. administration to deploy anti-missile systems in Europe, without the consent of a consolidated Europe and without prior consent from the North Atlantic Alliance, based instead on bilateral agreements with a number of countries,” he explained.

“We had constantly asked our American partners the same questions: Why do you need this? How efficient is this? And who exactly is the system aimed at? We received no comprehensive answers to any of those questions,” Medvedev maintained.

What’s more, we offered another idea - to create a global defense system using our radar facilities, as well as radars in our closest partner countries like Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, no progress was made in any of those areas,” he lamented.

With this in mind, Medvedev said, Russia had no choice but to retaliate at some point: “As my predecessor has mentioned, and I also talked about some time ago: we cannot help but react to anti-missile decisions made unilaterally by our American colleagues. And I voiced our decision in my annual address.”

“I see it as a perfectly adequate response: after all, we did not start this, we are simply responding to the unilateral decisions to deploy U.S. missiles and radar,” the Russian president stressed.

The new U.S. administration’s initial reaction offers some hope, according to Medvedev. “Our future partners are at least considering whether it is useful or not, efficient or inefficient. There is something to discuss,” he said.

“We are ready for such talks, but we are also ready for a ‘zero’ option. It would be a pretty standard way out of this situation. What’s more, we are ready to continue developing the idea of a global defense system, which would involve the United States, the European Union countries and the Russian Federation," Medvedev specified.

“As for my relations with U.S. president-elect Barack Obama, I have had a good conversation with him. I hope that we will be able to build normal partnership relations with the new American administration, finding solutions to the difficult issues on which we could not come to terms with the current administration,” he concluded.

RBC consulting

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