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U.S. unwilling to cooperate with Russia on missile defense - Lavrov

RIA Novosti

17:13 03/09/2011 DUSHANBE, September 3 (RIA Novosti) - Washington does not cooperate with Moscow on the European missile defense issue, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday.

"At the moment there is no evidence that they are ready to cooperate with us [on missile defense system]," Lavrov said at the CIS summit in Tajik capital, Dushanbe.

Moscow needs assurance from Washington that the missile defense shield that is being deployed by the United States in Eastern Europe will not be directed at Russia or any other country in the Euro-Atlantic zone.

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.

Russia and NATO agreed to cooperate on the 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.

"We are being assured that the U.S. plan [on missile defense system] is perfect and does not need any improvement, though we see the direct risks for our strategic Armed Forces," Lavrov said.

Asked whether the halt in missile defense talks may affect the Russian-U.S. arms reduction treaty, Lavrov said that the treaty allowed its members to withdraw from the pact if there is a threat for the security of the country.

"We will see whether there will be such a threat," the minister said, adding that Moscow did not give up attempts to reach agreement on the controversial missile defense program.



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