Medvedev criticises US unilateral missile shield plans

May 23rd, 2008 - 1:14 am ICT by admin  

Moscow, May 22 (DPA) Russia’s new President Dmitry Medvedev said a proposed US missile defence shield should be a collective initiative, reaffirming Moscow’s opposition to Washington’s unilateral plans to base the shield in Eastern Europe. “Our European partners fully support building a universal defence mechanism … but not the building of a unilateral mechanism, which in the final analysis goes against the existing security system,” Medvedev said Thursday in an interview posted on the Kremlin’s website.

“Unfortunately, we were not given a positive answer to this proposal,” Medvedev said of talks with US that culminated in a summit between the then Russian president Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart George W Bush.

Russia is sceptical over US claims the system will be deployed to counter ballistic missile threats from “rogue” state such as Iran and views its positioning in Poland and the Czech Republic as a threat to its nuclear deterrent.

“Of course, we cannot be happy about the idea. We think it unnecessary and we will be forced to find an adequate response,” Medvedev said, repeating his predecessor Putin’s warnings that Russia could retarget its missile at the US bases in Europe.

Medvedev, who succeeded his hawkish mentor Putin this month, said talks over missile defence had not yet hit a dead end.

“It would have been unsuccessful to just close the doors and windows and not listen to anything. We are ready to continue talks,” Medvedev told Chinese reporters ahead of a visit Friday to Beijing as part of his first foreign policy trip.

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