Russian FM welcomes US signals on missile shield in EU

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov welcomed U.S. signals to review a missile defence shield in eastern Europe.

Russian FM welcomes US signals on missile shield in EU
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov welcomed U.S. signals to review a missile defence shield in eastern Europe, in an interview with German news magazine Der Spiegel.

Lavrov said Russia wanted to work more closely with the West due to the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and he expressly welcomed signals from President Barack Obama's administration on Iran.

He also renewed an offer to work together with the United States on the missile defence shield.

"It's not too late. We could sit down at the negotiating table and evaluate the situation," Lavrov is quoted as saying in the interview to be published on Monday, excerpts of which were released on Saturday.

The United States on Friday signalled a willingness to slow plans for the missile defence shield in eastern Europe if Russia agreed to help stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Plans for the shield have contributed to a deterioration in U.S.-Russian ties, but the Obama administration has said it wants to press the 'reset button' and build good relations with Moscow [ID:nN13541668].

Undersecretary of State William Burns has held talks in Moscow in which he signalled the United States was ready to look at remodelling its missile defence plans to include Moscow.

The more flexible U.S. position on its missile shield addressed one of Russia's chief complaints against Washington. Moscow viewed the plan to site missiles in Poland and a radar tracking station in the Czech Republic as a threat to its security in its traditional backyard.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden told a security conference in Munich, Germany, last week that the United States would press ahead with the missile defence shield, but only if it was proven to work and was cost-effective.

The Kremlin has been pressing Washington to give ground on the missile shield in exchange for Russia helping supply the U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan.

Reuters
Last Mod: 15 Şubat 2009, 11:49
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