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|Wednesday, May 30, 2001, updated at 08:30(GMT+8)|
Missile Defense Not Only Issue of Bilateral Concern: IvanovRussian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said on Tuesday that the issue of the United States proposed missile defense plan is not one that concerns only the relations between Russia and the United States.
Igor Ivanov said after his meeting with NATO foreign ministers that the issue of the missile defense plan also concerns the relations between the United States and China and between the United States and other countries in the world as well.
He noted that the interests of all nations must be taken into consideration when Russia and NATO cooperate to form a new Europe and that the cooperation between his country and NATO is " absolutely essential" toward the efforts to forge a single unified Europe in the 21st century.
When asked to comment on NATO's omission from its foreign minister council statement of the 1972 anti-ballistic missile treaty, Ivanov said that the Russian position on the issue is well known and has not changed.
He said if Russia had participated in the discussion of the foreign ministers council on Tuesday, the mentioning of the 1972 treaty would have appeared in the final statement of the council that was held only for foreign ministers from NATO member states.
The Russian proposal of developing a non-strategic missile defense system, suggested by Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this year as a counter-proposal to the U.S. national and theater missile defense plans, was a Russian effort to help wipe out any threat that the NATO allies fear, said Ivanov.
But the Russian foreign minister said that changes of view, however, was taking place at technical levels concerning the issue of the missile defense system proposed by the Americans.
While commenting on further NATO expansion toward the former Soviet republics along the Baltic Sea, Ivanov said that Russia now is a partner of NATO and vice versa and that the two no longer see each other as adversaries.
"NATO may not agree with the Russian view," Ivanov said, "but NATO is no fool to fail to understand the Russian logic that the question remains what type of a Europe we all want to see in the 21st century."
If the question cannot be answered now, then it has to be answered some time later, he said.
Moreover, Ivanov said the scheduled summit meeting between Putin and United States President George W. Bush would be extremely important, as the development of bilateral relations between the two countries will then influence upon the development of relations among other countries as well.
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