Disagreement on missile defence may tell on Russia-NATO cooperation in other areas – Ambassador
This follows from the fact that Russia-NATO relations rely on strategic stability.
Therefore, if the nuclear balance is upset due to the implementation of NATO-supported US plans for a stage-by-stage deployment of a missile defence system, this would strongly affect the entire range of cooperation in the framework of the Russia-NATO Council, Grushko said in a press interview.
According to the diplomat, the missile defence issue is crucial to Russia-NATO interaction.
Russia’s probable retaliation measures to the European defence system are not Russia’s choice but we cannot sit twiddling our thumbs, Speaker of the State Duma (the lower chamber of the Russian Parliament) Sergey Naryshkin said at the meeting with French MPs on Wednesday.
He said that Russia has established positive cooperation with all its major international partners but relations with NATO remain difficult.
The main disagreement is about launching a regional missile defence system in Europe. Sergey Naryshkin stressed that Russia required technologically corroborated guarantees that this system would not be aimed against this country. If NATO says that the system is not aimed against Russia but refuses to develop and sign a respective legally binding agreement we cannot be satisfied, Naryshkin said.
Moscow insists on being given legally-binding guarantees on European missile defense
Moscow continues to insist on being provided with legally-binding guarantees by NATO, and primarily the United States, that the missile defense system being deployed in Europe will not be targeted against Russia, State Duma Chairman Sergei Naryshkin said at debates with French National Assembly deputies.
"We need guarantees backed by objective technical parameters that this system will not be targeted against Russia," Naryshkin, who is on a working visit to France, said at an expanded meeting of the National Assembly foreign affairs commission on Wednesday.
"When someone tells us in words that this system is not targeted against Russia but refuses to sign a legally-binding agreement in deeds, this certainly raises doubts in us," he said.
He insisted that security for all countries should be equal and indivisible.
Naryshkin warned that Moscow cannot twiddle its thumbs while its U.S. partners make decisions on deploying missile defense elements in Europe and putting them into practice.
"But this is surely not our choice," Naryshkin said in explaining the need for Russia to take measures in response to the missile defense system's deployment.
French parliamentarians tried to persuade the Russian delegation that the missile defense being deployed in Europe is targeted not against Russia but against countries located far to the south of Russia.
The stereotype of a Russian threat hampers the establishment of real partnership between Russia and NATO, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
"Progress toward genuine partnership between Russia and the North Atlantic alliance is still being hampered by attempts to exploit the Soviet threat idea, which has turned into the Russian threat idea now.
Both are viable," Lavrov said at the 49th Munich Security Conference on Saturday.
"Even during a shortage of financial resources, we can see increasing military activities in the north and the center of Europe, as if threats to security were growing in these regions," he said.
Lavrov also criticized NATO's plans to further enlarge eastwards, "as if there have been no declarations at the top level that the preservation of dividing lines on the continent is detrimental."
"Our proposals on how to make the principle of indivisible security, which has been repeatedly declared in political documents by the OSCE and the Russia-NATO Council, legally binding and practically working remain on the table," he said.
Voice of Russia, Interfax, TASS