NATO and Russia in deadlock over missile defense

NATO says it is not going to build a joint anti-missile system with Russia and does not find it necessary to provide legal guarantees the shield will not be targeting Russia. However, both sides remain positive, with at least some progress achieved.

The alliance’s head, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, has come to the Russian city of Sochi for talks, in which the missile shield was high on the agenda.

According to Rasmussen, NATO is convinced that there should be two different missile defense systems – one in NATO states and one in Russia – which would defend their own territories, but would also closely co-operate. Rasmussen observed that NATO does not share Russia’s view that the system should be built on a sectoral principle, where Russia would ensure missile security over a part of NATO territory.

Rasmussen also said he does not find it necessary to negotiate a legally binding agreement, saying that NATO and Russian missile defense systems are not targeted against one another, the move that Russia had been asking for all along.

I personally do not think there is a need for a legally binding agreement, but we need tactical co-operation instead,” said Rasmussen.

However, Rasmussen said Russia and NATO had confirmed their readiness to co-operate in the area of missile defense.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who is also attending the meeting of the Russia-NATO Council in Sochi, said the alliance and Russia’s positions on the matter are becoming closer.

Dialogue is not going as easily and fast as many hoped after the Lisbon summit, but it is continuing along bilateral channels,” Lavrov added.

­NATO and Russia see Libya’s future the same way – Medvedev

­The meeting in Sochi also touched upon the situation in Libya and the question of whether NATO’s actions in the country comply with the norms of international law.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen insisted that the NATO operation in Libya is conducted in strict compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 1973. Earlier, Russia criticized France, as it became known that it had supplied arms to Libyan opposition – an action that is banned by the UN Security Council.  

However, Rasmussen added that the alliance is ready to discuss its Libyan operation with Russia in the framework of the Russia-NATO Council.

Dwelling upon the question, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who has also met with the participants of the session on Monday afternoon, said the NATO operation in Libya will become a test for a new strategy of the alliance. He also added that Russia’s views comply with NATO’s on many points as regards to Libya.

We see the Libya’s future in practically the same way. We would like Libya to become a contemporary and sovereign state,” said Medvedev.

He said that in his opinion the Russia-NATO summit in Sochi was quite productive and that the sides had managed to reach progress in discussing important issues.

However, Lavrov said earlier that Russia and NATO still have some differences in the way the UN resolution is being carried out. He added that both sides are ready to do more to normalize the situation in Libya.