Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview published in the daily “Izvestia” on March 20 that the United States recently offered Russia “confidence-building measures” that will enable Russian monitors and monitoring equipment to determine that the proposed missile-defense system is not directed against Russia.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Lavrov added that “we have managed to make Americans acknowledge that our concerns are not unfounded…. In such [military systems], what matters is the potential and not just the intentions.” He did not say whether the proposal is enough to end Russian opposition to missile defense.Under the U.S. proposals brought to Moscow by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates this week, Russia reportedly will be able to use monitoring equipment and occasional visits by monitoring officials at the proposed radar site in the Czech Republic and at the interceptor base in Poland.
Germany’s “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” reported on March 20 that Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek suggested recently that the U.S. proposal is acceptable to Prague because it does not involve a permanent Russian military presence on Czech territory.
The daily also cited remarks by Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk to the effect that the proposal is worthwhile if it makes Russia feel more secure. Critics charge that Moscow knows that missile defense is no threat, but uses the issue to bully its neighbors, try to split NATO, and obtain concessions from Washington on other issues.