MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION
Transcript of Remarks and Replies to Media Questions by Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov Following Ministerial Meeting of Russia-NATO Council, Oslo, April 26, 2007
Foreign Minister Lavrov: Dear colleagues,
Over the five years the Russia-NATO Council (RNC) has been in existence, this mechanism has completely proven itself as a forum where any problem concerning European security, primarily in the military-political sphere, can be frankly discussed, as indeed was the case in the previous years.
The parameters of our interaction largely depend on how the alliance’s transformation will proceed.
We cannot, of course, watch impartially the military structure of the alliance moving ever closer to our borders. It is worrying that since 1999 nothing has been done to advance arms control and military restraint. These tasks have a fundamental significance for our relations with the alliance.
Today in his address to the Russian Federal Assembly President Putin thoroughly reviewed the situation with the CFE Treaty (Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe), which, as a matter of fact, Russia alone has been complying with all these years, and raised the necessity of having a serious discussion on what to do further with this Treaty and that Russia has to declare a moratorium on the implementation of this Treaty. And if the discussion fails to lead to radical changes, and our partners still refuse to ratify it, then withdrawal from CFE will become imminent.
Look how public opinion perceives certain recent developments, in particular the plan to deploy a third position area (TPA) of US missile defenses in Europe. This brings a basically new context in our relations, as a strategic component of the US armed forces may appear in Europe for the first time since the Cold War. The debate taking place around these plans vividly confirms that this issue concerns all European countries, because it will impact the architecture of all European security. Of course, we must take into account the fact that, as they tell us, the previous NATO MD plans will now depend on how the United States’ unilateral scheme for national MD develops.
We today spoke a great deal, and at considerable length, with our colleagues on this theme, citing concrete facts showing the invalidity of the calculations that the TPA, as conceived, could be of any use, for example, against an Iranian nuclear threat. That threat simply does not exist, nor can it arise in the foreseeable future, since this implies entirely different technologies, and a different production base than what Iran has.
April 27, 2007