Russian diplomats say no results of ABM dialogue with USA so far

Missile Defense Control Room file photo

(Interfax – May 28, 2013) Russian and US experts continue to conduct dialogue on the problem of missile defence (ABM), however the positions of the two countries on the issue still differ very much, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told a news conference in Moscow on 27 May, as reported by Interfax news agency on the same day.

“We know the position of our American partners in detail and we are expressing our own position as minutely as possible. We are trying to find the ways of how these positions which considerably differ today could be dovetailed. There is no particular success in this direction so far,” Ryabkov said. He added that Russia and the USA are not holding full-fledged ABM talks now, but there is dialogue on this subject between military diplomats and within the framework of the Russian-US presidential commission.

He also noted that it is not feasible to discuss further plans of nuclear weapons reduction without a consensus on ABM between Russia and the USA. “It is not realistic to discuss the future of further arms reduction without an agreement in this sphere,” Ryabkov said.

Speaking about US tactical nuclear weapons deployed in Europe, Ryabkov said that Russia is urging the USA to withdraw the arms from Europe and deploy them in its own territory. “The asymmetry existing in this sphere is not in favour of Russia,” he said. “We believe that the top-priority task in this sphere would be to move tactical nuclear weapons to the national territory of the USA, to eliminate the infrastructure which in certain circumstances may help to quickly return these facilities to the territory of the allies, and to stop the practice of holding NATO-format drills when hypothetical operations with the use of tactical nuclear weapons are carried out in the format of similar drills involving non-nuclear states,” Ryabkov said.

On the same day, Russia’s NATO envoy Aleksandr Grushko has commented on the recent exchange of messages on missile defence system issues between the Russian and the US presidents. Grushko said it “of course gave impulse to the consultations on corresponding levels between Russia and the USA”. However, it would be carelessly to speak about the possible outcome of those consultations now as “they only allow to start the discussion of the issues that have the key significance for strategic stability”, Grushko was quoted as saying.

“With all the changes in the American approach, it lacks the main ingredient, which is of fundamental importance for strategic stability of Russia’s security interests. The American approach has no guarantees that at some point the missile defence system, which is being created, will not become capable of intercepting Russian forces of nuclear deterrence,” Grushko noted.