The next Russia-NATO summit will only be possible after a compromise is reached on ABM issues, the country’s envoy to the Alliance Dmitry Rogozin said. In the capacity of Russian president’s special representative for missile defense cooperation with NATO, he is holding a series of consultations with leaders of the organization’s European member states. This week, he met with Portugal’s top-ranking political and military officials in Brussels.
The Russia-NATO Council summit slated for May 2012 in Chicago has been put into question following the sides’ numerous failed attempts to come to terms on the European missile defense shield being deployed by the United States. Negotiations are obviously stuck.
November last year saw Russia and NATO agree to cooperate in this area at the Lisbon summit. The Russian side believes that the Euro-ABM concept and architecture should be carried out on an equal basis to envisage measures adequate to missile risks. Despite all the agreements, Washington continued to deploy the system under its own plan, making Moscow demand guarantees that it was not going to be targeted against Russia. The US administration repeatedly stated that European air defense elements pose no threat to the country’s interests or strategic potential but Moscow insists that the guarantees are fixed on paper, whereas NATO urges to believe on its bare word alone.
NATO has to realize that any joint venture is impossible without clear, explicit and long-term guarantees, Dmitry Rogozin emphasized.
“NATO’s words appear not to always end in deeds, when they think one, talk another and do the third thing; it creates a gap between what is said and done. Right after the Lisbon summit we saw a pullback when NATO’s leaders, and mainly the US, began to say that the system would be separate for Russia and the alliance having some common points of cooperation. Moscow agreed but asked why the combat and casualty radius of NATO missiles reached the Urals. What kind of shield is it if it covers the partner’s territory? Thus, Russia says that if NATO wants to protect the Western Europe from a growing missile threat it is free to do it but without stepping on our territory as we have our own air and space defense under development ordered by the government,” the Russian official said.
To prove that the Euro-ABM affects Russian interests, Dmitry Rogozin referred to a report by scientists of the Massachusetts University saying that the project’s third and fourth stages stipulating the deployment of interceptors in Poland and the Baltic Region will become a real threat to the Russian strategic potential. “If our NATO colleagues do not believe Russian scientists, they should at least heed to their own experts,” Mr. Rogozin said.
Statements by the Russian envoy reflect Moscow’s growing concerns about the US and NATO unwillingness to enter practical agreements with Russia on its full-fledged involvement in building the European missile shield, says editor-in-chief of the National Defense magazine Igor Korotchenko.
“In these circumstances, it would be obviously short-sighted and foolish to pretend like nothing is happening. For this very reason, Dmitry Rogozin said that without any substantial ABM-related progress, Russia finds no sense in holding joint summits to debate challenges facing European security. NATO has to learn lessons from this and provide a constructive response to all of Russia’s proposals made after the Lisbon summit,” Igor Korotchenko stresses.
If Russia, Europe and the United States were jointly in charge of the continent’s security, this could have created a brand new quality of confidence between the East and the West, the expert said. But unfortunately, negotiations are too complicated and time is swiftly running out. There is only one thing clear at the moment: Moscow is ready to search for solutions fitting all the parties but will never change its stand as far as the country’s strategic safety is concerned. According to Dmitry Rogozin, this only refers to solutions based on the balance of interests. “Security is an unalterable value that we could never abandon,” he added.
SOURCE: The Voice of Russia