Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov welcomes U.S. signals on missile shield
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov welcomed U.S. signals to review a missile defence shield in eastern Europe, in an interview with German news magazine Der Spiegel.
Lavrov said Russia wanted to work more closely with the West due to the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and he expressly welcomed signals from President Barack Obama’s administration on Iran.
He also renewed an offer to work together with the United States on the missile defence shield.
“It’s not too late. We could sit down at the negotiating table and evaluate the situation,” Lavrov is quoted as saying in the interview to be published on Monday, excerpts of which were released on Saturday.
The United States on Friday signalled a willingness to slow plans for the missile defence shield in eastern Europe if Russia agreed to help stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
Plans for the shield have contributed to a deterioration in U.S.-Russian ties, but the Obama administration has said it wants to press the ‘reset button’ and build good relations with Moscow.
Undersecretary of State William Burns has held talks in Moscow in which he signalled the United States was ready to look at remodelling its missile defence plans to include Moscow.
Arrow anti-ballistic missile launch
Hillary Clinton says ABM system hinges on Iran’s actions
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday the Obama administration might reconsider its plans to deploy an ABM system in Eastern Europe – if Iran agrees to compromise on its nuclear program.
This thorny issue places yet another big challenge on the plate of the American president, who is being critically watched in these early days of his presidency. Without a clear position on this controversial issue there cannot be much progress in U.S. relations with Russia, Iran, and America’s allies in Europe.
Tehran has already said it is prepared to work with the new U.S. administration.
“The new U.S. administration has announced that it wants to make a change and start a dialogue. It is quite clear that a real change should be fundamental and not tactical,” says Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
It appears that Obama’s policy makers have found a way to kill two birds with one stone.
The reaction in the two Eastern European countries (the radar in the Czech Republic and ABM interceptor missiles in Poland) is expected to be mixed.
The politicians there have fought a hard battle to persuade its population that the system was necessary.
The U.S. offered significant military and financial incentives in exchange for hosting the controversial project that could now be suspended.
The North Atlantic Alliance may have been excited over the prospect, but its own ties with Russia cooled considerably as the plan unfolded.
February 13, 2009
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday the Obama administration might reconsider its plans to deploy an ABM system in Eastern Europe if Iran agrees to compromise on its nuclear program.