Russia 'confident' Obama will study missile shield plan - Lavrov
15/11/2008 13:05 (Adds info on Russian pan-European security plan in paragraphs 12-13)
MOSCOW, November 15 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said that Moscow is "confident" the U.S. president-elect will look into the effectiveness of the Bush administration's plans for a Central European missile shield.
Lavrov said in an interview aired on the Moscow-based Ekho Moskvy radio station on Saturday that Barack Obama would "analyze the situation concerning the deployment" of elements of a U.S. missile shield in the Czech Republic and Poland "from the point of view of their cost and effectiveness."
"We are confident that the new U.S. president already has plans for this," he said.
However, Lavrov also reiterated that Russia would be forced to adopt measures to neutralize the threat "that would certainly be caused" if the U.S. were to go ahead with the plans for a missile shield.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced last week the possible deployment of Iskander-M short-range missile systems in the country's Kaliningrad exclave, sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea.
However, the Russian leader said in an interview with France's Figaro newspaper published on Thursday that, "We could reconsider this response if the new U.S. administration is ready to once again review and analyze all the consequences of its decisions to deploy the missiles and radar facilities."
Washington recently said it had provided new proposals to ease Russia's concerns over the planned deployment of 10 U.S. interceptor missiles in Poland and a tracking radar in the Czech Republic, which the Bush administration has said are needed to counter possible attacks from "rogue" states such as Iran.
Russia, which says the missile defense system is a threat to its national security, has indicated it will not address the U.S. proposals until after Obama is inaugurated as U.S. president in January.
After Obama's presidential election victory, one of his senior foreign policy advisers, Denis McDonough, said the president-elect was not committed to the missile shield, and would only continue with the project if its effectiveness was proven.
Lavrov also called for a pause in unilateral moves in the sphere of European security.
"It is necessary to take a pause with regard to unilateral actions in the sphere of European security, whether it be the missile shield or NATO expansion," he said.
The Russian foreign minster also urged the EU to take a more active role in matters of European security.
He also revealed that a pan-European security treaty earlier proposed by Medvedev contained a section dedicated to the resolving of armed conflicts.
"In our initiative on a treaty on European security there is a section specially dedicated to the issue of resolving conflicts," he said, adding that one of the principles behind this was "respect for current agreements and respect for existing negotiations and peacekeeping formats."
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