View Full Version : Russia Threatens To Leave Missile Treaty

10-12-2007, 08:35 AM
Russia threatens to leave missile treaty


9 hours ago

MOSCOW (AFP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened Friday in talks with top US administration officials to abandon a key nuclear missile treaty, while also telling Washington to freeze plans for a European anti-missile shield.

Speaking at the start of talks with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defence Secretary Robert Gates, the Kremlin leader said the Cold War-era INF treaty limiting Russian and US shorter and medium range missiles was outmoded because other countries were acquiring such weapons.

"If we are unable to make such a goal of making this treaty universal, then it will be difficult for us to keep within the framework of such a treaty, especially when other countries do have such weapons systems," Putin said.

Putin also urged the US delegation, which was in Moscow to address spiralling Russian-US tensions, "not to force" the planned deployment of an anti-missile system in new NATO members Poland and the Czech Republic.

Gates said that talks on Friday and Saturday were to tackle "an ambitious agenda for security issues that concern both of us, including the development of missile systems by others in the neighbourhood -- I would say in particular Iran."

Rice and Gates, who sat stern-faced through Putin's opening remarks, later began talks with their Russian counterparts on a range of issues including US missile defense plans and Russia's threatened withdrawal from another Cold War-era treaty, the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty, which limits the numbers of troops and tanks stationed in Europe.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov welcomed what he said were "detailed (US) proposals on missile defense, the CFE treaty, as well as the arrangements for following the lapse of the CFE treaty."

The two sides were also to raise Iran's nuclear programme, the status of Kosovo, and proposals to renew the Cold War-era START strategic missile treaty.

"I know we don't always see eye to eye on every element of the solution to these issues," said Rice. "Nevertheless, I believe we will do this in a constructive spirit, that we will make progress during these talks, and continue to pursue cooperation."

Adding to the sensitivity of the trip, which comes at a time of rancorous relations between an increasingly assertive Kremlin and the hawkish White House, Rice was to meet with human rights activists.

Domestic and foreign critics of Putin accuse him of dismantling post-Soviet democratic gains in the run-up to December parliamentary and March 2008 presidential elections.

Lavrov said on arrival for the talks at Putin's Novo-Ogaryevo residence in the Moscow suburbs that deals were far from certain.

Asked if he expected a breakthrough, Lavrov quipped: "Breaks definitely, (but) through or down, I don't know."

The high-powered US delegation was unlikely to make much progress in persuading Moscow to back a Western push for tougher sanctions on Iran.

Putin said on Wednesday that he saw no evidence the Islamic republic was masking a bomb-making project behind the largely Russian-built civilian nuclear power programme.

But Rice, who hopes to persuade Moscow to back stronger action against Tehran, said en route to Moscow that the Russians did harbour "suspicion about Iran's intentions."

On Kosovo, Russia has sided with Serbia in opposing Western backing for independence in the breakway province, currently administered by the United Nations.

A December 10 deadline in talks between Belgrade and Pristina will increase the urgency for a compromise.

The most divisive Washington-Moscow row, though, is the Pentagon's plan to intall a missile defense shield in Central Europe.

Russia vehemently opposes the stationing of interceptor missiles in Poland and a powerful targeting radar in the Czech Republic by 2012, but has offered access to a Russian-controlled early warning radar in Azerbaijan as an alternative.

Russia claims the system could diminish the force of its nuclear deterrent, but the United States argues that the shield would be far too small to have any impact except against hypothetical attacks by countries such as Iran or North Korea.

10-19-2007, 01:37 PM
Last week this. This week Putin in Iran supporting them. Bad moon rising friends...