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Lavrov says missile defense projects should not 'upset parity'

RIA Novosti

15:12 05/02/2011

MUNICH, February 5 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has stressed Moscow's position to preserve the strategic parity in the sphere of missile defense.

"It happens so that NATO in its inner elaboration of the anti-ballistic missile [ABM] intends to make a step or two steps further than we will be doing together as part of the NATO-Russia Council," Lavrov said at the global security conference in Munich on Saturday.

"I hope however they [NATO] will not again try to pin us down to the facts, otherwise we will not escape the implications," the minister said.

Lavrov said Russia's agreement to discuss cooperation on missile defense in the NATO-Russia Council does not mean that Moscow agrees to the NATO projects which are being developed without Russia's participation.

The minister said the fulfillment of the third and fourth phases of the U.S. "adaptive approach" will enter a strategic level threatening the efficiency of Russia's nuclear containment forces.

"If our concerns are not taken into consideration and there is no joint equal work, this misbalance will have to be compensated," Lavrov said, adding that such a scenario would return the sides into the past.

"The failure would seriously cut the possibilities of cooperation not only in counteracting the missile risks but in the whole spectrum of threats to our common security," he said. "I stress: this would be not our choice," he added.

Russia has retained staunch opposition to the deployment of missile-defense systems near its borders, claiming they would be a security threat. NATO and the United States insist that the shield would defend NATO members against missiles from North Korea and Iran and would not be directed at Russia.

Lavrov has also warned against NATO's focus on "the threats from the East" saying that this approach will be always generating a "search for an enemy" and "heat up tension."

The Russian foreign minister also said the European missile defense system should not be "used to distract attention from the U.S.-NATO anti-ballistic missile."

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