‘Russia will reciprocate if US drops missile shield plan’

November 13th, 2008 - 8:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaMoscow, Nov 13 (RIA Novosti) Russia may abandon its plans to place short-range missiles in the Kaliningrad region along the Polish border if the new US administration reverses its decision to deploy a missile shield in Central Europe.As a response to the proposed US missile shield, President Dmitry Medvedev announced last week the possible deployment of Iskander-M short-range missile systems in the Kaliningrad exclave, sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea.

“We could reconsider this response if the new US administration is ready to once again review and analyze all the consequences of its decisions to deploy the missiles and radar facilities,” Medvedev said in an interview with France’s Le Figaro newspaper published Thursday.

The Russian president said the signals so far from president-elect Barack Obama’s transition team indicate Washington’s willingness to consider a compromise on the issue.

“The first reaction we have seen from the incoming US administration gives us grounds for hope,” the president said.

Russia believes that a security agreement based on respect for common interests would remove the need for a US missile shield in central Europe, and consequently the need for tactical missiles to be stationed in Russia’s western exclave.

“This would be a completely acceptable way out of this situation. Moreover, we are ready to continue work on the idea of a global defence system in which the United States, the European Union member states, and the Russian Federation would all take part,” the president said.

Washington said last week it had provided new proposals to ease Russia’s concerns over the planned deployment of 10 US interceptor missiles in Poland and a tracking radar in the Czech Republic, which the Bush administration has said are needed to counter possible attacks from “rogue” states such as 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 Barack Obama is inaugurated as US president in January.

The US embassy in Moscow had announced Wednesday that Russia and the United States had agreed to resume talks on strategic security and missile defense in December.

US Under Secretary for Political Affairs William Burns discussed arrangements for the upcoming meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier this month.

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