Moscow asks for clarification of the new anti-missile defence configuration
12. 10. 2009 / Karel Dolejší
During the three-day visit of the American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Russia three topics are on the agenda: The coordination of both countries'approach to the Iranian nuclear programme, a new treaty on strategic nuclear missiles, which should be signed before the end of this year, and the issue of the new configuration of the US anti-missile system in Europe.
It looks as though there is an almost total agreement in the Iranian question between both coutries. According to well-informed sources, accessible to the Moscow-based Kommersant daily, Moscow is now clear under which conditions it wouldn't veto sanctions against Iran in the UN Security Council.
The issues concerning the successor treaty which is supposed to replace START are however not particularly clear. Nor is the issue of the US anti-missile defence clear, since Alexander Vershbow, the US Deputy Defence Secretary, has said that a new anti-missile radar could be now placed in the Ukraine. Moscow is becoming increasingly unhappy that according to the new configuration of the system, even more interceptors and combat ships could be placed around its borders than according to the original Bush project.
According to Alexander Gabuyev writing in Kommersant, the unclear situation around the new version of the anti-missile project is causing "increasing concern" in Moscow. This is reflected, among other things, in the change of the originally benevolent attitude of Russia to the Patriot missiles which are to be stationed in Poland. The Kremlin will now ask for further clarification with regard to the shape and purpose of this project. This is an obvious change of attitude since the Russian Defence Secretary said only recently that this issue concerns only the bilateral American-Polish relations and it does not worry Moscow.
Viktor Litovkin, the Deputy Editor of Nezavisimoe voennoe obozrenie writes in his commentary in Nezavisimaya gazeta that in spite of the assurances of Deputy Vershbow from the American side and from the Ukrainian President Yushchenko and Ukrainian Foreign Secretary Poroshenko, Washington is sending out unclear signals in this matter. In this connection, Litovkin speculates that the US probably will not want to rely only on the new treaty on strategic nuclear weapons, which is supposed to be signed with Russia before the end of the year, but that the USA has probably not quite given up the idea of building an anti-missile system directed against Russia.
According to the report of the Globalsecurity server, which quotes the RIA Novosti news agency, the negotiations about US anti-missile defence between the Deputy Foreign Secretary Ryabkov and Deputy Secretary of State Tauscher should take place on Monday.Vytisknout
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