‘Russia, US, EU may agree on common security deal’

November 12th, 2008 - 4:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaMoscow, Nov 12 (RIA Novosti) Russia, the US and the European Union (EU) can still agree on ways of ensuring security before Moscow and Washington deploy their rival missile defence shields in Poland and Kaliningrad, the Russian foreign minister has said.Sergei Lavrov said a security agreement based on respect for common interests would negate the planned deployment of a US missile shield in Central Europe and the possibility of tactical missiles in Russia’s western exclave of Kaliningrad bordering Poland.

“We still have time to consider real, not contrived threats to Europe and reach a collective rather than a unilateral decision,” Lavrov said.

He said the main topic at a ministerial meeting of the European security watchdog OSCE, scheduled for early December in Finland, would be Euro-Atlantic security.

A European diplomatic source said earlier Tuesday that the issue of the possible deployment of Russian tactical missiles near the Polish border may be raised at the upcoming EU-Russia summit in Nice Friday.

“The possible deployment of Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad is not on the agenda of the upcoming Russia-EU summit, but it may still be raised,” the source said.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in his state of the nation address Wednesday that Russia would be forced to deploy tactical Iskander missile systems in response to the United States’ missile shield plans for central Europe.

Washington said Thursday it had provided new proposals to ease Russia’s concerns over the planned deployment of 10 missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic, which the US said were needed to counter possible attacks from “rogue” states like Iran.

Russia, which says the missile defence system is a threat to its national security, has indicated it will not address the US proposals until after president-elect Barack Obama is inaugurated in January.

Relations between Russia and the EU strained after the August war between Russia and Georgia, which had attacked breakaway South Ossetia. The EU froze talks on a new partnership deal with Russia in retaliation.

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