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US Missile Scheme Hurts Ties With Russia
File image of Sergei Lavrov, seen here with Condeleezza Rice.
File image of Sergei Lavrov, seen here with Condeleezza Rice.
by Staff Writers
Gorki-10, Russia (AFP) March 17, 2007
The US plan for part of a missile defence shield in central Europe harms trust between NATO and Russia and may create confrontation where none exists today, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned here Saturday. "There is no doubt that American anti-missile defense in Europe has a serious and negative impact on our relations with NATO," Lavrov said in an address to the Council for International and Defence Policy, a club of Russian officials and foreign policy specialists.

Lavrov suggested that the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was being used to "camouflage" unilateral measures that Russia considered threatening. If so, he asked, then "what added value is there for the NATO-Russia Council?"

"We are opposed to strategic games in Europe that may create potential for confrontation in what is literally an empty place," the Russian minister said.

Lavrov said Russia did not seek to "drive a wedge" between the United States and its allies in Europe. "But at the same time we would not like for transatlantic relations between Europe and the United States to be strengthened at Russia's expense," he added.

A meeting between Russian and NATO officials to discuss the US missile defense plans is scheduled for April 19.

The United States wants to base 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and install a powerful radar in the Czech Republic -- components of a larger anti-missile defense system that Washington says is meant to guard against threats from states like Iran and North Korea.

US officials insist that the system poses no threat to Russia, but the Kremlin has vocally opposed the project. It wants more open consultation from Washington, a call that has won backing from several powerful European countries led by Germany.

In other remarks, Lavrov said that the American empire was in decline as "new centers of power" emerged in the world.

"Objectively, the outsized role of the United States in world affairs is shrinking," Lavrov said, adding that some US political elites had trouble understanding that calls for a "multipolar world" were not the same as anti-Americanism.

The Russian minister also criticised the resort to force by the United States in recent years, saying "there are no successful examples of using force to resolve a problem."

Source: Agence France-Presse

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