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Russia Stands by Position on Missile Defense

Russia is standing by its position on the terms for antimissile collaboration with the United States, Moscow's envoy to Washington said in a Monday report from ITAR-Tass (see GSN, July 6).

The two nations and NATO agreed in November 2010 to consider opportunities for working together in establishing a shield to protect Europe from ballistic missile strikes. No agreement has emerged from the talks, and Moscow continues to voice worry that the developing system could ultimately be used to counter its long-range nuclear force.

"Russia and the U.S. are engaged in dialogue on missile defense at the level of experts," according to Ambassador Sergei Kislyak.

"However I cannot say that there are signs of a breakthrough," he said. "Frankly speaking, I did not expect one."

There is not likely to be major progress on the matter ahead of the November U.S. elections, because the Obama "administration is busy with internal problems," the envoy added.

While NATO and the United States have sought Russia's agreement to create two separate but connected antimissile shields, Moscow has pressed for one comprehensive system in which each side would have equal decision-making authority.

"These proposals have not changed: we must think about a joint missile defense system that would not threaten any of its participants. But the U.S. continues to stick to its own geography and pattern," Kislyak said.

"Different options for cooperation are under discussion now. A concept we propose calls for a common space, and if we do something together, this means that we should do everything together and in a way that we would allow us to rely on each other within this space," he added. (ITAR-Tass, July 9).

Russia's General Staff chief is due in the United States on Tuesday, RIA Novosti reported.

“Gen. Nikolai Makarov will pay a working visit to the United States on July 10-13,” according to a Russian Defense Ministry spokesman.

“He will hold talks with U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey,” the official said on Monday. “The talks will focus on the discussion of the U.S. missile defense plans" (RIA Novosti/Journal of Turkish Weekly, July 10).

Meanwhile, a senior NATO official played down the threat posed by Russia's work on updated ballistic missile systems, Kommersant reported on Monday (see GSN, May 23).

"NATO sees Russia as a partner, not as a threat, so the alliance has no concerns about the development of ballistic missile technologies," said Patrick Auroy, the military alliance's assistant secretary general for defense investment. "The threat comes from the countries where technologies are developing alongside nuclear programs. States outside the Euro-Atlantic zone acquiring nuclear missiles is a common challenge and another important reason for the need for cooperation between Russia and NATO" (Maria Yefimova, Kommersant, July 9).

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