Medvedev backpedals on missile threats

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev said Saturday that Russia will not carry out its threats to deploy new missiles facing Europe and that the advent of a new U.S. administration provides “great opportunities” to overcome other differences between the United States and his country.

By Barbara Slavin
The Washington Times

In Washington to attend a meeting of the world’s 20 largest economies, Mr. Medvedev suggested that the global financial crisis had a potential silver lining.

“I believe we have great opportunities to restore relations to the fullest extent, and we can build them on a new foundation,” the Russian leader told the Council on Foreign Relations.

Mr. Medvedev stunned President-elect Barack Obama by delivering a harsh speech in Moscow the day after the U.S. elections. The Russian threatened to put missiles in the enclave of Kaliningrad if the United States carries out plans to deploy missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic.

On Saturday, he said he meant “nothing personal” by the timing of the speech. “I absolutely forgot about the important political event taking place that day,” he said.

 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev speaks at an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations at the Washington Club Saturday in Washington. (Associated Press)

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev speaks at an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations at the Washington Club Saturday in Washington. (Associated Press)

The Bush administration has said that the missile defenses are intended for Iran, but Russia objects to their deployment so close to its borders and says they are aimed at Russian targets.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Saturday also seemed to back down from comments critical of the planned missile-defense system.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008
/nov/16/medvedev-backpedals-on-missile-
threats/

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