Italy criticises US over E.Europe missiles plan

AFP Photo / Sven Nackstrand
Senior Italian politicians have called on Russia and the U.S. to end a row over planned missile deployments. Italy's Foreign Minister, Franco Frattini, has appealed to Washington to shelve proposals for an anti-missile system in Eastern Europe. Meanwhile,

In an interview with Italy’s Repubblica newspaper, Frattini said Russia should also show restraint and resist putting missiles in Kaliningrad.

“There is a need to advance the perspective of creating a new world order jointly with Europe, Russia and America,” he said.

Frattini says the incoming American administration will be more focused on Asia than the current one, and it will not want a new Cold War with the Russian Federation. That is why, Frattini says, there should be no deployment of the ABM system in Poland and the Czech Republic.

He suggested that Washington should “change the approach” to relations with Russia.

And it wasn’t just the Italian Foreign Minister joining the debate. Speaking during a visit to Turkey, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said he believed Russia had a number of reasons to be unhappy.

“Let's speak frankly, Russia was provoked by America's plans to deploy missile defence elements in the Czech Republic and Poland, the recognition of Kosovo and the possibility of Georgian and Ukrainian membership in NATO,” Berlusconi said.

He also called on U.S. president-elect Barack Obama to avoid stepping up confrontation with Russia.
 
Berlusconi also said confrontations like this could lead to nuclear war.

Poland sticks to its guns

However, Poland says it won't give up its plans to deploy anti-missile elements on its territory even if Russia stations Iskander missiles in its westernmost region of Kaliningrad, according to Polish sources.

Poland’s Senate speaker Bogdan Borusiewicz slammed the Italian Prime Minister for describing the U.S. missile plan as provocative and said Berlusconi's words might further aggravate Russian-American friction over the plan.

Borusiewicz added that, on the whole, Polish-Russian relations are good: trade between the two countries is worth $14 billion a year, there are regular high-level governmental visits between them, and Poland supports a proposal for resuming talks on a new partnership accord between the European Union and Russia, he said.

Poland reached an agreement with the U.S. on an anti-missile base in July this year. However, Obama’s Foreign policy advisor, Dennis McDonough, failed to give any guarantees that it would be built under the new administration.