Archive for the ‘Lavrov’ Category

Russia Promises to Halt Missile Deployments Facing Poland

November 12, 2008

Russia’s foreign minister has said it will abandon plans to station missiles in Kaliningrad if the US does not base part of a missile shield in Europe.

Sergei Lavrov said short-range Iskander missiles would only be deployed in the western enclave, which borders Poland, to neutralise any perceived US threat.


President Dmitri Medvedev unveiled the planned counter-measure a week ago.

The US insists the planned shield is designed solely to guard against attack by “rogue states”, such as Iran.

At present, the system will include a tracking radar in the Czech Republic and 10 missile interceptors in northern Poland. Moscow says they could threaten its own defences.

These would be in addition to radars and interceptors in Alaska and California in the US, and another radar at Fylingdales in the UK.

‘Third zone’

At a news conference in Moscow on Tuesday, Mr Lavrov was asked whether the Russian plans to deploy Iskander missile systems in Kaliningrad might affect Friday’s EU-Russia summit and renewed talks on a new partnership and co-operation agreement.

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Major powers to meet Thursday over Iran

November 11, 2008

The six powers trying to scale back the nuclear ambitions of Iran, which is accused of trying to build an atomic bomb, will meet in Paris on Thursday, French officials said.

Political directors from the foreign ministries of Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States will gather to discuss progress in their dealings with Tehran, said a foreign ministry spokesman.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the Natanz uranium ... 
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility. The six powers trying to scale back the nuclear ambitions of Iran, which is accused of trying to build an atomic bomb, will meet in Paris on Thursday, French officials have said.(AFP/File/Atta Kenare)

He was confirming the meeting announced earlier Tuesday by a European diplomatic source in Berlin.

The six countries have put forward a package of technological, economic and political incentives if Iran suspends uranium enrichment, which they fear Tehran is pursuing to build a nuclear weapon.

Tehran strongly denies the accusation, saying its nuclear programme is aimed purely at producing civilian energy.

Tensions arose late last month within the group of six countries when the United States slapped sanctions on Russia‘s main arms firm over the alleged sale of sensitive military technology to Iran.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described the US move as “inadmissible” and warned the sanctions would affect talks between world powers on the Iranian nuclear programme.


Russia sees hope of missile progress with Obama

November 9, 2008

Russia hopes for constructive talks with the next U.S. administration on Washington’s planned missile defense system in Europe, Russian media quoted Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying on Sunday.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is seen in his Gorki residence ...
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is seen in his Gorki residence outside Moscow. Barack Obama is keeping people guessing about whether he will pursue a Bush administration plan to set up a missile shield in central Europe but analysts say Russia has shot itself in the foot with threats to deploy missiles in retaliation.(AFP/Ria-Novosti/Vladimir Rodionov)

A Russian deputy foreign minister said separately, in an interview with Interfax news agency, that Moscow would not carry out a threat to deploy tactical missiles near Poland if Washington scrapped its plans to deploy its missile system in Europe.

Washington says the missile defense shield, which would consist of 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar station in the Czech Republic, would help protect from missile attacks by “rogue states” such as Iran.

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama has supported work on a missile defense system, but says it must be “pragmatic and cost-effective” and cannot divert resources from other priorities until its effectiveness is proven.

“We have turned our attention to those positions which Barack Obama published on his site,” Russian news agencies quoted Lavrov as saying after meeting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

“They inspire a hope that we will be able to tackle these issues on a more constructive basis.”

Lavrov and Rice were taking part in a meeting of Middle East mediators.

Lavrov said proposals Russia had so far received from the outgoing U.S. administration to ease its concerns over the U.S. missile system “fall short of the agreements reached earlier at the level of the presidents.”

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev pledged last week to station Iskander tactical missiles in the Kaliningrad region bordering Poland in response to the planned U.S. missile system.

Russia says it sees no prospect of Iran firing missiles at Europe and that the U.S. system is a direct threat to its national security.

The European Union this week expressed “strong concern” over Moscow’s plan to deploy the Iskander systems near Poland.

“There is a very important detail here — these plans (to deploy Iskander missiles) will be implemented only in case the U.S. missile defense system is launched,” Interfax quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko as saying.

“If the United States does not deploy it, then the very need for Russia to take these precautionary measures will be removed,” Grushko said.

He said the EU “should not have pretended they are bewildered that Russia would take relevant retaliatory steps, because the U.S. plans undermine Russia’s strategic potential, which is a basis for global security.”

Russia's "Iskander" missile system on display ... 
Russia’s “Iskander” missile system on display at a military exhibition in the Siberian town of Nizhny Tagil in 2005. President Dmitry Medvedev has said Russia will place short-range missile systems on the EU’s eastern border to counter planned US missile defence installations in Eastern Europe.(AFP/VEDOMOSTI/File/Evgeny Stetsko)

(Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Louise Ireland at Reuters)

Vietnamese President to visit Russia next week

October 20, 2008

From Vietnam NetBridge

VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet will arrive on an official visit to Russia on October 26-29 at the invitation of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, the Kremlin press service said on Monday.
The sides are expected to hold high-level talks on October 27.

The preparation for the meeting was discussed at talks between Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem, who arrived in Moscow in mid-September, and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.

During the visit, the Vietnamese and Russian foreign ministers agreed to strengthen bilateral military and technical cooperation. The Vietnamese top diplomat also said his country was preparing to abolish visas for Russians entering the country next year.

At the meeting, Lavrov said: “Our partnership with Vietnam is of a strategic nature and has very good prospects, as well as traditions of friendship and mutual assistance going back many years…”

Trade between Russia and Vietnam in the first seven months of the year exceeded $1 billion, and may reach a record $1.6 billion by the end of 2008. This year more than 70,000 Russians visited Vietnam comprising 17% of all tourist numbers to the Southeast Asian country.



Lavrov: Russia Still Against NATO Expansion, Missile Defense

April 1, 2008

Voice of America
Russia’s foreign minister again has expressed opposition to NATO expansion and U.S. plans for a missile defense system in central Europe.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke to reporters in Moscow Thursday ahead of next month’s visit to Russia by U.S. President George Bush.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov addresses the CIS (Commonwealth ...
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov addresses the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) Foreign Ministers meeting in Moscow, Friday, March 28, 2008. Lavrov stressed that efforts by Georgia’s pro-Western government to join NATO have added tension and attempts to resolve the Georgian-Abkhaz and the Georgian-South Ossetian conflicts through Georgian entry to NATO are dangerous and counterproductive.(AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)

Lavrov said his country views proposals for NATO expansion as being out of touch with reality. He said the entire world faces common threats which must be handled in common.

Lavrov also stressed his country’s view that the best way to resolve disagreements over the planned U.S. missile defense system is for Washington to abandon it.

The United States has said Russia has nothing to fear from NATO expansion or the missile defense system, which it says is aimed at so-called rogue states such as Iran.

President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet April 6 in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi. 

Leaders of the 26 NATO countries are expected to invite Albania, Croatia and possibly Macedonia into the alliance at next week’s summit in Bucharest. They will also consider initiating the membership process for Ukraine and Georgia.
The United States wants to place 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and control-radar in the Czech Republic.

Russia has strongly opposed the plan as a threat to its security. It has said the system could set off a new arms race.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

Russia says NATO “playing with fire” on expansion

March 29, 2008
By Conor Sweeney and Oleg Shchedrov

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia warned NATO on Friday against expansion into ex-Soviet neighbors Georgia and Ukraine ahead of a NATO summit next week that will discuss what Moscow sees as deep encroachment into its backyard.

File photo shows NATO members' national flags at the organisation's ...
File photo shows NATO members’ national flags at the organisation’s headquarters in Brussels. Russia’s envoy to NATO denied Friday that Moscow’s offer to help international forces in Afghanistan would depend on the alliance rejecting the membership plans of Georgia and Ukraine.(AFP/File/Olivier Morin)

In separate comments, Foreign Minster Sergei Lavrov and a Kremlin spokesman said possible NATO membership for the two countries would have repercussions for any plans to improve Moscow’s ties with the Western military alliance.

Lavrov warned Georgia against using NATO membership as a tool to regain control over its rebel regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which broke away in the 1990s and enjoy Russian support.

“Concerning South Ossetia and Abkhazia, if Georgia intends to gain NATO support in order to solve these two conflicts by means of force, it’s a dangerous game,” Lavrov told journalists.

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Russia Denies Afghan Deal Tied to NATO Expansion

BRUSSELS (AFP) – Russia‘s envoy to NATO denied Friday that Moscow‘s offer to help international forces in Afghanistan would depend on the alliance rejecting the membership plans of Georgia and Ukraine.

Ambassador Dmitry Rogozin rejected reports that any deal could be done to allow equipment and troops from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to move across Russian territory.
Russia's envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin, seen here in January ... 
Russia’s envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin, seen here in January 2008, denied Friday that Moscow’s offer to help international forces in Afghanistan would depend on the alliance rejecting the membership plans of Georgia and Ukraine.(AFP/File/Alexander Nemenov)

Indeed he suggested that a transit arrangement was virtually finalised, and might be concluded in time for next week’s summit in Bucharest between Russian President Vladimir Putin and NATO leaders.

“There is no connection, no relation at all between the NATO decision on Ukraine or Georgia and the completion of the transit agreement, or of any arrangement to support ISAF in….

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U.S., Russia Politely Dug In Over Missile Defense

March 23, 2008

By Peter Finn
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, March 19, 2008; Page A12

MOSCOW, March 18 — The United States and Russia failed again Tuesday to bridge their differences over U.S. plans to build a missile defense system in Eastern Europe to guard against potential attacks from Iran. But in two days of talks here, both sides adopted a strikingly moderate tone after a long period of rancor between the two countries.
The USS Lake Erie launches a Standard Missile-3 at a non-functioning ... 
The USS Lake Erie launches a Standard Missile-3 at a non-functioning National Reconnaissance Office satellite as it traveled in space at more than 17,000 mph over the Pacific Ocean, February 20, 2008; photo released by the U.S. Defense Department. REUTERS/Defense Dept. photo by U.S. Navy.

The Americans “agreed that their project fuels our concerns and offered proposals aimed at lifting or easing these concerns,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov after meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.

Gates told reporters after the talks that his side would submit written proposals seeking to temper Russian fears about the missile system. Russian military inspectors would have access to sites in Poland and the Czech Republic, and the system would not be activated until there was demonstrable evidence that Iran had tested missiles capable of reaching the United States or its allies in Western Europe, U.S. officials said.

Russian officials have argued that placing a defense system on Russia’s borders is not necessary because Iran is many years away from developing such long-range missiles. They also say they fear that any radar system placed in Eastern Europe would be used to peer into Russian airspace and undermine the country’s strategic forces.

“We’ve leaned very far forward in this in an effort to provide reassurance,” Gates told reporters. He added, however, that the United States would not be dissuaded from going forward with the system.

Lavrov described the U.S. proposals as “important and useful for the minimization of our concerns.” But Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, who also took part in the talks, cautioned that “the positions of our two sides have not changed.”

Gates said the Bush administration expects an answer “reasonably quickly” after it submits its written offer, but some news reports here suggested that Moscow might be playing for time, knowing that a new administration in Washington could take a different position on the necessity of missile defense.


The newspaper Vedomosti wrote Tuesday that “if the Democrats win the U.S. presidential election, they could review the missile defense program.”

It could also be that with the end of Russia’s election season and the recent victory of President Vladimir Putin‘s handpicked successor, Dmitry Medvedev, the Kremlin sees no further domestic advantage in upbraiding the Bush administration and wants to reverse the deterioration in relations.

When Rice and Gates visited Moscow in October, they were subjected to some public finger-wagging by Putin as the cameras rolled. This time Putin did not even mention missile defense when he first met the two Monday at a short session in front of the news media.

“I would say they listened very carefully,” Gates told reporters Tuesday. “President Putin took extensive notes last night, and there was a lot done during the day today. That said, the full range of what we are now prepared to offer to discuss with the Russians is really just now after the day’s talks being put down on paper.”

In October, the Russians complained that U.S.-written proposals failed to live up to earlier oral offers from Rice and Gates. In particular, the Russians expressed concern about the adequacy of access to the sites slated for Eastern Europe.

The October statement may have stemmed from opposition in Poland and the Czech Republic to giving Russian military observers access to the facilities — and particularly to the idea that they might be permanently stationed there. Both countries have bitter memories of the Soviet troops who were posted within their borders during the Cold War.

Poland’s new prime minister, Donald Tusk, struck a conciliatory note Tuesday about the possibility of Russian inspectors.

“From our side there is a readiness to talk seriously about what this monitoring — that would give our neighbors a sense of security — could look like,” said Tusk, who said he had spoken both to Putin and President Bush about the possibility.

Rice and Gates, who also carried a letter from Bush to Putin, said the two countries had agreed to negotiate a “joint strategic framework document” that would build on existing cooperation in areas such as preventing the spreading of nuclear weapons and fighting terrorism.

Rice said the document could “lay the foundation for the future” after Bush and Putin leave office. But she provided few details.Medvedev, who also met with Rice and Gates, will succeed Putin in May, but he has said that Putin will become his prime minister, a power-sharing arrangement whose parameters remain unclear.

Russia to supply Abbas with armored vehicles, no guns

March 21, 2008

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – After months of delay, Russia agreed to Israeli conditions regarding the delivery of armored vehicles to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas‘s security forces, Israeli officials said on Friday.

Israel agreed in November to allow the Palestinians to receive up to 50 lightly armored vehicles but a dispute emerged over a Palestinian demand that they have guns mounted on them.

Israeli officials said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert during a meeting on Thursday that Russia agreed to shipping the vehicles without mounted guns.

It was unclear when the vehicles would be delivered to Abbas’s forces.

“We have been hearing about these armed vehicles for more than a year,” said a Palestinian security official. “Hopefully we will be able to receive the shipment.”

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Russia Says It Will Be Allowed To Monitor U.S. Missile Defense Systems

March 20, 2008

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, seen here in February ... 
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
(AFP/File/Hrvoje Polan)
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.

Lavrov says Russia and the US still have differences over missile defense

March 18, 2008

March 18, ,2008

Moscow (AP) — Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Tuesday that Russia and the U.S. still disagree over a missile shield for central Europe, while U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the system “would not constitute a threat” to Moscow.

After talks with Gates and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Lavrov told a news conference that Moscow still sees a “risk” to Russia in the U.S. plans to deploy missile defense facilities in central Europe.

But both Lavrov and Rice voiced confidence that Washington and Moscow can continue to work constructively on this and a wide array of issues.

“When we have differences, we can talk about them in an atmosphere of mutual respect,” Rice said, backing Lavrov’s belief that the two sides disagree about the positioning of the missile defense system.

Gates, joining Lavrov and Rice at a news conference, said that “we’ve leaned very far forward in this to provide assurance” that the system is not a threat.

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