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Russia ready to use all necessary resources to reach agreement with U.S. on missile defence in Europe

09:29 | 16.01.2012 | Analytic

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16 January 2012. PenzaNews. Russia intends to use all necessary resources to solve problems related to the building of the American missile defence system in Europe. This was announced in a statement by Deputy Prime Minister, Special Envoy of the President for Interaction with NATO in Missile Defence Dmitry Rogozin during his press conference in Brussels to summarize his four years as Russia’s special envoy to NATO on Friday, January 13.

Photo taken from the site Nato.int

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Dmitry Rogozin also said that he still expected the US to provide legal guarantees that the American missile defence system actively pursued in Europe would not target Russia.

“We hope that upon completion of political debates accompanying the U.S. elections the old new U.S. administration will have more opportunities and wider political boundaries so that they can give a partner’s response to Russia,” said former Russia’s special envoy to NATO.

Dmitry Rogozin emphasized that Russia would be ready to give a corresponding technical response, if required to protect its highest national interests from NATO threats, which would result in the American anti-missile defence in Europe “being considered a waste of money.”

After his farewell reception in Brussels organized for diplomats of the Permanent Mission of Russia to NATO and staff of Senior Military Representative of Russia to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin planted two poplars in the garden of the Russian mission to the alliance and named them after intercontinental ballistic missiles Topol and Topol-M on the night before Saturday, January 14.

Later, on his official Twitter account former Russia’s envoy to NATO wrote that he “decided to leave something good in memory of his work at NATO [mission], thus I planted a poplar. I think that the poplar is very appropriate at NATO.”

Dmitry Rogozin said that he first wanted to plant two poplars in the territory of the NATO headquarters but the administration did not allow him to do that.

“Since NATO was not happy about my poplar I decided to plant two trees at once. To the left there is Topol, and to the right – Topol-M,” the diplomat explained. As proof of that, Dmitry Rogozin published a photograph showing how he planted two young trees in Brussels.

Notably, the NATO Press Office did not provide official comment as to the planting of two trees on the premises of the Russian mission and stated that the NATO administration was not informed about the intentions of Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.

As the media note, former Russia’s envoy to NATO knows how to elegantly give symbolic presents to his colleagues. Thus, in particular, in January 2008 Dmitry Rogozin presented NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer with a special souvenir inlaid war tomahawk when handing in his credentials and expressed the hope that the NATO Secretary General would bury the hatchet as a sign of “putting an end to all conflicts between Russia and NATO.”

Meanwhile, observers believe that Russia and NATO made some progress in the negotiation process in 2010-2011 but realize that they are not yet able to resolve fully the issue of the missile defence in Europe. The possibility that the existing relations will evolve only with regard to smaller issues which the two parties have an interest in resolving cannot be ruled out.

U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher expressed confidence at a meeting of the Defense Writers Group that the dialogue between Washington and Moscow on missile defence would be intensified in 2012 and “[w]e will get a missile defense agreement for cooperation with Russia.”

In her words, America still does not consider it necessary or possible to provide legally binding guarantees that U.S. missile defence in Europe will not impact Russia's strategic deterrent but an agreement can be reached even without them.

“The only way they [Russia] are going to be assured ... the system does not undercut their strategic deterrent is to sit with us in the tent in NATO and see what we are doing. …we are hoping that these strategic stability talks over the next 8 months will start to loosen these old ties that have been binding everybody in the old way of thinking,” Foreign Policy’s The Cable quoted Ellen Tauscher as saying.

She also reiterated that “we will never do a legally binding agreement,” explaining that it would be impossible to get the Senate to ratify it.

“‘Legally binding’ doesn't mean what it did before… What they [Russia] are looking for really is a sense that future administrations are going to live by [Obama's commitments],” Tauscher added.

GOP senators of the neoconservative stripe (Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle and others), who previously attempted to “freeze” the progress on the U.S.-Russia “reset” policy, view with disdain any steps made by the Obama administration towards the implementation of the missile defence plans. As some media point out, at one point they even demanded that the White House stop any exchanges of information between Moscow and Washington in relation to missile defence plans.

At the same time, Ellen Tauscher who oversees the implementation of the New START nuclear reductions agreement and was previously in charge of U.S.-Russia strategic talks assured that missile defence is at this point the only new issue in the U.S.-Russia relations.

According to Hillary Clinton’s deputy, it is exactly the area where Russia and the U.S. “can begin to put aside the Cold War and ‘mutually assured destruction’ and move toward ‘mutually assured stability.’”

In addition, Ellen Tauscher suggested that progress in relations between the countries would speed up once presidential elections in Russia set for March 4, 2012 had subsided. However, some Russian and foreign experts think that the strategic course declared by Moscow will hardly change against the backdrop of NATO’s reluctance to provide legal guarantees of non-use of missile defence in Europe against Russia.

As news agency PenzaNews reported earlier, after the November 2010 NATO Summit in Lisbon there remain significant disagreements between Russia and NATO regarding the development of the missile defence system in Europe. The concept of this system revised and updated after Barack Obama’s election does not satisfy Moscow that supports the creation of Russia-NATO joint missile defence. However, NATO command does not intend to let Russia influence key decisions on European and U.S. defence in case of a possible missile strike, for example, by Iran or other states of the Middle East. The leadership of the alliance does not intend to give any official assurances in writing that missile defence installations in the territory of the Old World will not undercut the strategic deterrent and armed forces of Russia.

On November 23, 2011 Russian President Dmitri Medevedev spoke about Russia’s potential withdrawal from the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty unless the U.S. and NATO states take account of Russia’s interests and concerns when implementing their missile defence programme in Europe. He also reiterated that Russia had long sought from Washington legal assurances that the European missile defence system would be safe for Russia, but without success. Dmitri Medvedev especially emphasized that Russia was ready to strengthen its missile attack early warning system, reinforce the protective cover of Russia’s strategic nuclear weapons, equip new Russian strategic ballistic missiles with advanced missile defence penetration systems and new highly effective warheads, and deploy modern offensive weapon systems in the west and south of the country, ensuring Russia’s ability to take out any part of the missile defence system in Europe.

Europe and the U.S. generally reacted calmly to the statement made by the Russian President. American leadership again tried to persuade Russia that the European missile defence system would not threaten Russia while Europe decided to abstain from any discussions. Russian analysts believe that this can be explained by Europe’s realization of its inability to create its own missile defence system thus relying fully on America to provide its missile defence tent.

In addition, European leaders understand that the measures taken by Russia have a purely defensive character: the actions spelled out by Dmitri Medvedev will not impact Europe and will pose no risk of a new armed conflict. In the words of the Russian President, defence installations can be used against mutual threats shared with Europe. By now Moscow has already taken the first steps. During his visit to Kaliningrad on November 29, 2011 the President ordered that a new early warning radar station called Voronezh-DM become part of the missile attack warning system.

According to the President, the launch of a new radar station should serve as the first signal for NATO. However, it does not mean the cessation of dialogue as Russia is still open to discuss proposals of its Western partners.

In turn, American officials state that they do not seek to deprive Russia of its own defence capabilities. However, for internal reasons the Obama administration cannot provide official assurances which could limit Washington’s ability to protect Americans and their allies from foreign missile attacks. The only thing that the administration can do is to provide undocumented political commitments.

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