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Russia-US to hold talks on missile defence, arms control pact

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. A file photo

MOSCOW (PTI): Russia and the US are set to hold crucial talks on missile defence system and a new arms control pact to replace Soviet-era START-1 Treaty ahead of a key visit by the American Secretary of State next week.

Hillary Clinton is arriving here on October 12 on her first visit to Moscow as US Secretary of State. During the three-day visit, she will hold talks with her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to finalise a new arms control pact to replace START-1 Treaty, which expires on December 5.

According to a Foreign Ministry official, Russia and the US will hold Deputy Foreign Minister-level consultations on missile defence in the wake of Obama administration's decision to drop plans to deploy elements of controversial missile shield in Poland and Czech Republic.

"I do not rule out that the foreign policy chiefs of the two countries would be briefed on the first results of our partner-like dialogue (on missile shield)," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said today.

The official expressed Moscow's readiness to provide its radars for building a missile shield after the US administration dropped plans to deploy the controversial missile shield system in Poland and Czech Republic.

He expressed confidence the missile shield consultations would be "constructive and dynamic" in the wake of Obama administration's decision to drop the deployment of missile shield system in Poland and Czech Republic.

Nesterenko recalled the Russian readiness to share Soviet-era Gabala radar in Azerbaijan and newly built Armavir early warning radar with the US to build a common missile shield against rouge missiles from West Asia.

Russia fiercely opposed the Bush administration's plan to deploy missile defence facilities in Eastern Europe, arguing that they threatened Moscow nuclear deterrent.

Last month the Obama administration announced its plan to shelve the Eastern Europe plan in favour of a more mobile, sea-based system that would focus on the threat of short-and medium-range missiles from Iran.


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