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19 Oct, 2009 11:15

Nuclear reduction and the Kosovo case

Ahead of a visit to Belgrade on Tuesday, Dmitry Medvedev has told a Serbian newspaper that, while he wants to reduce nuclear arms, Russia also needs to keep some of its arsenal for security.

Dmitry Medvedev once again reiterated that he would do his utmost to keep the number of strategic offensive weapons at a minimum level to ensure Russia’s security and the security of its allies.

Dmitry Medvedev stated that “We've said it more than once: we’re ready to decrease the number of carriers to one third of the current level,” he said.

Representatives from Russia and the US are gathering in Geneva for another round of talks on cutting their nuclear stockpiles and forging a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

During a meeting with the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Moscow last week, Russia's Foreign Minister said there has been significant progress in negotiations.

One of the main sticking points is Russia's insistence that missile defense is included in the treaty.

Russia’s president has commented that “When it’s a question of nuclear weapons, we work from the idea they can never be used in practice.”

Medvedev added that “We'll also never forget their existence has guaranteed strategic stability and security in the world for decades. For our part, we’re guided by the need to preserve nuclear arms at the minimal level necessary for the national security of Russia and our allies.”

Medvedev said he warmly welcomed the decision of the Barack Obama administration to ban the deployment of anti-ballistic systems in Eastern Europe.

Concerning the new US project of a global missile defence security which also includes Europe, Dmitry Medvedev said Russia has to assess these new plans to see if they match the interests of Russia’s national security.

Russia’s stance on Kosovo unchanged

When asked a very Serb-sensitive question about Kosovo, the Russian President warned that “Despite efforts by the champions of independence for Kosovo, it's impossible to present it as an irreversible process and close the case. We believe it’s crucial to prove, step by step, that there is an alternative to unlawfulness. Without Serbia’s final word, no-one will say the Kosovo question is settled.”

Medvedev shared the vision that “Today, nobody questions the fact that our world is undergoing a deep transformation. A totally new geopolitical situation is emerging, featured by a multi-vectored nature and establishing new world centers of economic and political influence.”

Speaking about Russian-Serbian relations, Dmitry Medvedev said:

“Our relation with Serbia is not a tabula rasa. We have profound experience of cooperation based on age-old traditions and mutual sympathies of our people. We have common goals and shared pragmatic interests.”