Russia proposes global missile defense cooperation with U.S. - Medvedev
PRAGUE, April 8 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has proposed cooperation with the United States in creating a global missile defense system, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Thursday.
"We are interested in cooperating with our American partners on this issue as close as possible," Medvedev told a press conference in Prague after the two presidents signed a new nuclear arms reduction treaty.
"We proposed our services to the United States in establishing a global missile defense system. We need to think about this," he said.
The document is expected to bring Moscow and Washington to a new level of cooperation in the areas of nuclear disarmament and arms control.
Russia has emphasized its right to withdraw from the treaty if an increase in the quantity or quality in the U.S. strategic missile defense significantly threatens the effectiveness of Russia's strategic nuclear forces.
The presidents agreed to continue talks on a missile defense shield, including information exchange and the evaluation of threats.
U.S. President Barack Obama said the development of its missile defense system will not constitute a threat to Russian strategic security.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday Washington's plans for a missile defense shield have not presently constituted any threat to Moscow's strategic interests.
However, he emphasized that Russia did not rule out that the plans could eventually constitute a threat, adding Russia may withdraw from the arms reduction treaty if Washington significantly increases its missile defense.
Konstantin Kosachyov, the head of Russian parliament's International Affairs Committee, said the new arms cut deal has no restrictions on the development of a missile defense system; however, it links strategic offensive weapons to defensive ones.
In February, Bulgaria and Romania said they were in talks with Obama's administration on deploying elements of the U.S. missile shield on their territories from 2015.
The move came after Obama scrapped last September plans by the Bush administration to deploy missile-defense elements in the Czech Republic and Poland due to a reassessment of the threat from Iran. Russia fiercely opposed the plans as a threat to its national security.
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