Interview with Konstantin Beloruchev
Russia Today: What are the prospects for Russian-American talks on the U.S. anti-missile shield in Europe?
Konstantin Beloruchev: Ballistic missiles are the complicated part of Russian-American relations. It is one of the key issues for the Bush administration. Since coming to power in 2001, George Bush aimed at a building a national missile defence system. One of his first steps was to withdrawal from the 1972 ABM Treaty in 2001. This was a period of close Russian-American relations right after the 9/11 attack and the war in Afghanistan.
It is unlikely the U.S. would change tracks. The talks will continue but the Republicans in general are very tough in their attitude. If the plans to establish stations in the Czech Republic and Poland have been announced, they cannot step back because it will be a sign of weakness. We can expect some trade off, the attempts to find some concessions from each other and search of some common ground – at least until the term of this administration expires. The Americans will at least imitate movement forward to show their power, strength and vitality.
RT: We are not likely to see any sort of breakthrough?
K.B.: Not from the American side.
RT: Another issue mentioned was the Intermediate-range Nuclear Force Treaty (INF). Earlier Vladimir Putin said it will be difficult for the two countries to remain within the treaty unless it goes more global. Do you see it going global in the near future?
K.B.: It was said at the press conference that the U.S. and Russia agree at the globalization of that treaty. But it also depends on other countries. Many states have them [intermediate-range missiles] because they can be both nuclear and conventional. It is hard to predict which countries will join the treaty and which will stay away.
When the treaty was signed in the 1980s, Russia was concerned about the U.S's allies in Europe. That was because these restrictions did not cover them, but some of these could now join.
It is important that Russia and the U.S agree on some common approach. It is not a breakthrough but a kind of mutual understanding which can help to ease tensions over other important issues like for instance ABM systems.