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U.S. could threaten Russian strategic nuclear forces - Foreign Minister Lavrov

RIA Novosti

11:26 01/09/2011 MOSCOW, September 1 (RIA Novosti) - The United States continues to refuse to guarantee that the European missile defense shield will not be directed at Russia, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday.

"They don't want to give us a guarantee that the U.S.-NATO [European] missile defense shield will not be directed at Russia," Lavrov said during an address to students and professors at the Moscow State University for International Relations.

Lavrov said that in July 2009, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama agreed on joint efforts in establishing an anti-missile defense system by first starting with a general analysis of challenges and threats.

"We added concrete proposals to the parameters for such a system and there were long consultations through bilateral talks and within the Russia-NATO Council. Unfortunately, we have not come to an agreement; however, a European missile defense shield is currently being created according to the parameters that Washington has defined and could create a threat to Russia's strategic nuclear forces," Lavrov said.

"Military experts understand completely that the unlimited expansion by one party's anti-missile defense capabilities requires the other party to take equal actions in order to protect its strategic restraint potential," he added.

Russia needs assurance that no military action would be directed at any other country in the Euro-Atlantic zone, he said, adding "otherwise we will return to the ideological stereotypes of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and that would be a big mistake in the light of the global challenges threatening all the members of the global society."

In June, Russia's envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said the United States was already deploying its missile defense system in Europe without waiting for an agreement with Russia.

Romania announced in June that it had reached an agreement with the United States to deploy a U.S. missile interceptor system at a disused Soviet airbase on its territory.

"We have seen once again that the United States plans to unfold its system de facto without waiting for the end of [missile defense] talks with Russia, as the situation with the treaty with Romania shows," Rogozin said.

Russia and NATO agreed to cooperate on the so-called European missile defense system at the Lisbon summit in November 2010. NATO insists there should be two independent systems that exchange information, while Russia favors a joint system with full-scale interoperability.

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