Compromise with US on missile shield possible: MedvedevNovember 24th, 2008 - 5:03 pm ICT by IANS
Lima, Nov 24 (RIA Novosti) Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has expressed hope that the new US government under Barack Obama could abandon Washington’s plans to build an anti-missile shield in Central Europe. “There is a chance, because if the position of the current administration on this question seems extremely inflexible, the position of the president-elect (Obama) looks more cautious,” Medvedev told reporters at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Peru.
Obama has yet to state his position on the controversial plans of President George W. Bush to deploy a missile-tracking radar in the Czech Republic and a missile interceptor base in Poland.
After Obama’s election victory, one of his foreign policy advisers said the president-elect was not committed to the missile shield, and would only continue with the project if its effectiveness was proven.
“It means dialogue is possible… A change of position is possible,” the Russian president said.
Moscow has fiercely opposed the planned deployment of 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic, saying they will pose a threat to its security. However, Washington inisits the bases are needed to counter possible strikes from “rogue” states like Iran.
The two countries have held a series of talks on the issue, but failed to reach a compromise.
The Russian president earlier threatened to deploy Iskander-M short-range missiles in the country’s Kaliningrad exclave, which borders NATO members Poland and Lithuania, if the US missile defence system was deployed in Central Europe.
However, Medvedev said in an interview with France’s Figaro newspaper that Russia could “reconsider this response if the new US administration reviews and analyzes all the consequences of its decisions to deploy the missiles and radar facilities.”
Earlier this month, Washington said it had provided new proposals to ease Russia’s concerns over the planned missile shield. New confidence-building steps, in particular, would allow Russian monitors access to missile defence facilities in Poland and the Czech Republic.
Russia called the new proposals “insufficient” and insisted that the US abandon its missile shield plans in Europe altogether.
“There has been no easing of our concerns,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said reiterating Russia’s position at a news conference in Lima Sunday after talks with his US counterpart Condoleezza Rice.
“We discussed the missile shield issue with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and agreed that…the consultations will be held in December,” Lavrov said.
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