Russia is requesting more details on how it might take part in a plan for NATO missile defense prior to a high-profile summit this month in Portugal, Agence France-Presse reported yesterday (see GSN, Oct. 27).
"We would like to receive more information before the summit about how our NATO partners see Russia's participation in such a system," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a joint media appearance in Moscow with his German equivalent, Guido Westerwelle.
"I hope that we manage to reach a common understanding prior to the [Nov. 20] summit in Lisbon about the existing risks and where concretely they come from" to identify the value of the proposed antimissile system, Lavrov said.
NATO and the United States have invited Moscow to participate in plans to construct a missile shield in Europe in hopes of addressing worries the system is intended to undermine Russia's strategic deterrent.
Alliance members are anticipated to determine at the Lisbon summit whether to include missile defense as a key NATO objective. A 'yes' vote would pave the way for integration and enhancement of national missile defense capabilities.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is slated to attend the summit.
"Russia is unquestionably invited to participate [in the missile shield], because we do not want to have different zones of security in Europe," Westerwelle told a Moscow radio station.
"The summit in Lisbon is a window of opportunity to underline the strategic character of NATO-Russia relations and direct them to the future," he said later in his media appearance with Lavrov (Agence France-Presse/Spacewar.com, Nov. 1).
Medvedev and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen are slated to consider the missile shield matter during a meeting tomorrow in Moscow, RIA Novosti reported (RIA Novosti, Nov. 2).
Lavrov said the Kremlin anticipates it would not be categorized as an enemy in the NATO strategic document set to be considered at the summit, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
"Don't we have a feeing that NATO [will] still perceive Russia as an enemy?," Lavrov said, according to Interfax. "No, we don't have such a feeling."
Russian Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Makarov yesterday said while the alliance and Moscow have "a common approach to many problems" differences between the two sides remain.
Makarov met with Adm. James Stavridis, NATO supreme allied commander for Europe and head of U.S. European Command, the RBC news outlet reported.
Stavridis emphasized the "extraordinary importance of strategic partnership" between the two sides (Xinhua News Agency, Nov. 1).