‘No trust’ in US-Russian relations: Medvedev

November 16th, 2008 - 11:37 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Nov 16 (DPA) Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said the US and Russia share “no trust” in relations but suggested the two countries can begin to heal ties without resolving the dispute over missile defence.Speaking after the gathering of 20 world economic powers in Washington to address the financial crisis, Medvedev said there is “no trust in Russian-US relations - the trust we need” to tackle international challenges and strengthen ties.

Medvedev was optimistic that after president-elect Barack Obama takes office Jan 20, there will be a fresh opportunity to build a positive friendship, while he blamed President George W. Bush for the deteriorating relations.

“This administration has done a lot to create the basis for the mood in Russia-US relations,” Medvedev said through a translator at a gathering at the Council on Foreign Relations think tank following the summit.

Medvedev, however, said the US and Russia could start improving ties by cooperating to confront the economic crisis, calling it a “common enemy”.

Medvedev said rebuilding the relations must not start with the controversy over Bush’s plans to deploy a missile-defence system to Poland and the Czech Republic, the issue that has contributed most to the tension between Washington and Moscow.

The Kremlin considers the deployment a threat that would weaken its strategic nuclear deterrent, while the Bush administration insists the system is required to counter Iran’s growing ballistic missile capability.

Medvedev was confident that he would be able to find a solution with Obama, who has taken less of a hardline stance on missile defence than Bush, but has not stated whether he will proceed with the deployment.

Moscow is open to cooperating internationally to develop a collective defence against ballistic missiles, but cannot accept it in the form of “fragments” offered by the unilateral agreements pursued by Bush.

“It seems to me that it’s better to have a global missile defence,” Medevedev said.

Medvedev announced Nov 5 that Moscow will place missiles in its Eastern European enclave of Kaliningrad if the US forges ahead on Poland and Czech Republic deployment in “retaliation”, he said.

“We really do not want to deploy anything. This was not our idea,” he said, adding progress cannot be made in ending the dispute until Washington understands Russia’s concerns.

“We will not do anything until America makes the first step,” Medvedev said.

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