Moscow irked by US missile shield plans for Romania

By RIA Novosti,

Berlin : Moscow is apprehensive about US plans to deploy missile defence elements in Romania, a senior Russian parliamentarian said Friday.

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Romanian President Traian Basescu said Thursday his country backed talks with the US on a plan to deploy interceptor missiles as part of a missile shield to protect Europe.

Viktor Zavarzin, head of the State Duma (Russian parliament) Defence Committee, said the plans could affect the European security as well as ongoing talks on the Russian-US strategic arms reduction deal.

In an interview with the Rosbalt news agency, he said the “key question” in that situation was whether NATO would view security problems only “from the Brussels perspective” or would take into account the “legitimate interests and concerns of all states in the Euro-Atlantic area”.

Alexander Pikayev, head of the Disarmament and Conflict Resolution Department at the World Economics and International Relations Institute, believes Romania had purposely made the statement at a time when US-Russian strategic arms control talks had moved into the home stretch.

The Russian foreign minister said Friday Moscow was waiting for clarification from the US over its plans to deploy missile defence elements in Romania.

“We expect the US to provide an exhaustive explanation, taking into account the fact that the Black Sea regime is regulated by the Montreux Convention,” Sergei Lavrov said.

Lavrov did not clarify how the Montreux Convention could have any implications on the US missile defence plans in Romania, as the convention regulates military and commercial navigation through the Dardanelles Straits.