The US administration decided to prove that the air defense system, which is being currently deployed in Eastern Europe, poses absolutely no threat to Russia's interests. Washington plans to conduct consultations with Moscow so that Russia could have a better understanding of USA’s views on the international policies. US Ambassador to Russia William Burns is certain that Russia and USA should maintain their friendly terms despite the deployment of air defense system components in Poland and the Czech Republic. German Chancellor Angela Merkel also suggested the two countries should conduct adequate talks with the participation of NATO.
Henry Obering, the general in charge of developing US missile defense, stated last week that the USA was going to deploy three parts of its surface-based anti-missile defense system in Europe by 2011, including one radar in the Caucasus. The statement raised deep concerns with the Russian administration. As a matter of fact, the USA conducts single-handed actions at this point. US officials won the support of Poland and the Czech Republic, and everyone else was left to face the fact.
It is worthy of note that officials from the countries of Western Europe are sick and tired of such US-led policies too. The US administration blatantly violates international rights with such decisions. Russian President Putin has already reproached George W. Bush for such political selfishness during the recent security conference in Munich.
Foreign Minister of Luxembourg, Jean Asselborn, stated at a meeting of EU foreign ministers that Warsaw and Prague’s interest in hosting the anti-missile bases could trigger new tensions with Russia. "For me it is incomprehensible that after the end of the 20th century and the fall of the Berlin Wall anyone should start escalating again," he said. "We'll have no stability in Europe if we force Russia into a corner...We should help Poland and the Czech Republic to rally around a European position," he added.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel attempted to smooth out the imminent confrontation between Russia and the USA. Merkel said in an interview with the Financial Times that Russian and US officials could involve NATO in the talks pertaining to the deployment of the US air defense system in Europe. NATO should become a forum for broad air defense talks between Washington and its allies on the one hand and Russia on the other hand, Merkel believes.
Most likely, US officials realize that they will have to start the talks with Moscow. US Ambassador to Russia, William Burns, stated that Washington was ready to cooperate with the Russian government in the field of anti-missile defense. Burns said that the US administration had taken Russia’s concerns into its consideration. However, the radio-locators in Poland and the Czech Republic could not pose a threat to Russia, the added. Warsaw and Prague have yet to formally sign up to Washington's defense scheme, which in Poland's case would include the placing of interceptor missiles.
The above-mentioned talks between Russia and the USA will take place in Washington on March 9.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov