Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Russia warns US over missile system

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov

Source: Press TV

Russia has warned that it reserves the right to pull out of the new START arms reduction treaty as the US has not provided guarantees over its missile shield in Europe.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Monday that Russia was concerned about the US refusal to provide legally binding guarantees that its missile system would not threaten Russia's security.

"The Americans are insisting on the importance of launching practical cooperation without any preconditions," he was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.

He added that Russia "cannot start cooperation on specific projects without legal guarantees that a future system will not be directed against our security interests."

"The new START [Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty] may become hostage to the US approach," Ryabkov told lawmakers during parliamentary hearings.

He said that Moscow was disappointed by a negative US reaction to its demand.

Russia, which considers the US missile plans as a potential threat to its security, has agreed to consider NATO's proposal to cooperate on the missile shield, but insisted that the system should be run jointly. NATO has rejected Russia's demand.

A landmark arms control treaty called new START has helped improve relations between Moscow and Washington, but Russia continues to view US missile plans with suspicion.

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