President Medvedev want NATO to answer on RF role in EU missile defence

FILE : 20 October 2010, 21:00 Russian Permanent Envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Dmitry Medvedev, Chairman of the State Duma International Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev, and Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko at meeting with participants in the Munich Conference on Security Policy. © Photo: the Presidential Press and Information Office

GORKI, January 25 (KATAKAMI.COM / Itar-Tass) – Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has urged NATO to give “a direct and unambiguous answer” on the possible role of Russia in the European missile defence system, promising in any case to give “an adequate response to the existing problem.”

“No joking here is acceptable; we expect from our NATO partners a direct and unequivocal answer: where they see the place of Russia (in the European missile defence system),” Russian President said at a meeting with Russia’s Ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin on Monday.

“In any case, we either together with NATO or alone will find a decent solution to the problem existing at the moment,” said Medvedev.

“Our (NATO) partners should realise that we need this not to play some joint games with NATO, but in order to ensure the proper defence of Russia,” the head of state noted. “This is my duty as the president and the duty of other public servants,” Medvedev added.

The president recalled that in his state-of-the-nation address to the Federal Assembly he had already expressed his view on the alternative that Russia faces in this issue. “Either we agree on certain principles with NATO and create a matching system for the fulfilment of the missile defence tasks, or we fail to agree and then in the future we will have to make a number of unpleasant decisions on the deployment of the main nuclear missile attack force,” the RF head of state emphasised.

At the Russia-NATO summit in Lisbon last year Medvedev had already voiced the general approaches of the Russian Federation to building relations with NATO in the missile defence sphere, in particular, in the regime of the creation of the Euro missile shield.

“Our country does not bid for the participation in the NATO initiative as such, we have never needed that. However, we should at the same time realise our share of responsibility for what is happening in this sphere, and are ready to offer our potentialities,” he said.

The president noted that the reaction to Russia’s proposal at the summit was “favourable on the whole, although varied.”

Medvedev asked Rogozin to report on how the events develop and if any agreements have been reached “regarding the approaches to the settlement of this problem.”

The 28 Allies and Russia work together as equal partners in the NATO-Russia Council (NRC), which was established in 2002. Cooperation between Russia and NATO in the area of theatre missile defence (TMD) has been underway for a number of years to address the unprecedented danger posed to deployed forces by the increasing availability of ever more accurate ballistic missiles. A study was launched in 2003 to assess the possible levels of interoperability among the theatre missile defence systems of NATO Allies and Russia, according to a NATO release.

Three command post exercises have been held – the first in the United States in March 2004, the second in the Netherlands in March 2005, and the third in Russia in October 2006. A computer assisted exercise took place in Germany in January 2008. Together with the interoperability study, these exercises are intended to provide the basis for future improvements to interoperability and to develop mechanisms and procedures for joint operations in the area of theatre missile defence.

In December 2009, NRC Missile Defence Working Group was established. It was tasked to build on the lessons learned from the previous TMD cooperation and to exchange views on possible mutually beneficial cooperation on missile defence, based on a joint assessment of missile threats.

At the Lisbon Summit, NRC leaders approved the joint ballistic missile threat assessment and agreed to discuss pursuing missile defence cooperation. They decided to resume TMD cooperation and to develop a joint analysis of the future framework for missile defence cooperation.

Since the NRC was established, military liaison arrangements have been enhanced, at the Allied Commands for Operations and for Transformation, as well as in Moscow. A key objective of military-to-military cooperation is to build trust, confidence and transparency, and to improve the ability of NATO and Russian forces to work together in preparation for possible future joint military operations, according to NATO.

Military-to-military cooperation has resumed, following a temporary suspension in the wake of the August 2008 Georgia crisis. The military work plan for 2010 focused on four agreed areas of cooperation: logistics, combating terrorism, search and rescue at sea, and counter piracy. At the Lisbon Summit, NRC leaders agreed to expand existing tactical-level cooperation to address the threat of piracy, including through joint training and exercises.

A “Political-Military Guidance Towards Enhanced Interoperability Between Forces of Russia and NATO Nations” was approved by NRC defence ministers in June 2005. Another key document is the Partnership for Peace Status of Forces Agreement, which Russia signed in 2004 and the Russian parliament ratified in May 2007,which will facilitate further military-to-military and other practical cooperation, in particular the deployment of forces participating in joint operations and exercises. (*)

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