US Seeks to Develop Missile Defense Cooperation With Russia

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With the relentless efforts of the United States to fight nuclear terrorism, the US government wants and is prepared to cooperate with Russia on missile defense.

During an interview with Elena Chernenko of Kommersant Daily in Moscow, US Under Secretary Rose Gottemoeller for Arms Control and International Security said the US intends to continue negotiations with Moscow on broadening missile defense cooperation with Russia both in diplomatic channels and at the military-to-military level.

“Our goal is to bring together the capabilities of the U.S., Europe, NATO, and Russia to jointly address common missile threats.” -Ms. Gottemoeller

The United States is working with Russia bilaterally and also through NATO channels to find forms of cooperation that will benefit the U.S. and Russia and their European partners.

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U.S. President Barack Obama with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in 2009.

During the interview, Ms. Gottemoeller also outlined goasl in visiting Moscow.

She travelled to to Moscow to meet with her counterparts to discuss arms control issues of mutual interest to the U.S. and Russia, in particular, the future of conventional arms control in Europe.

U.S. and Russia will tackle issue nuclear terrorism as well on her visit.

Today this is one of the most extreme threats to global security, Ms. Gottemoeller cited.

She stresses that the U.S. and Russia have been cooperating in this area for a long time, making every effort to see that nuclear materials do not fall into the hands of terrorists.

The physical protection, control, and accounting of nuclear materials are priority issues for both of countries, she added.

The United States also intends to revitalize the system of conventional arms control in Europe and are prepared to begin working on that in the coming months.

Conventional arms control has three pillars: one is the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, the CFE Treaty, which has had a great historical role; the second is the Vienna Document on strengthening confidence-building measures in Europe; and the third is the Open Skies Treaty, where Russia is playing a very important role in its implementation, according to Ms. Gottemoeller.

The U.S. intends to work on all three areas in order to revitalize the negotiations on conventional arms control in Europe.

To address New START, Ms. Gottemoller said the Treaty has recently passed its first birthday.

In her view, the first year was very successful.

Implementation of the treaty has already contributed significantly to increasing confidence between the U.S. and Russia, and therefore it has improved the relationship between our countries in general, she stressed.

She reports taht over the year both the U.S. and Russia have carried out their obligations under the treaty, but at the same time they have fully exercised the rights and utilized the opportunities provided to them.

Both countries have each conducted the maximum of 18 permitted inspections.

Both sides also exchanged more than 2,000 notifications about their strategic arms.

The U.S. was learning about Russian arms, while Russia was learning about U.S. arms, Ms. Gottemoeller cited.

She says New START is an equitable and mutually beneficial process.

Ms. Gottemoeller underlines that the United States is committed to propose to break the impasse on missile defense.

President Obama has said on many occasions that the U.S. is committed to finding a mutually acceptable approach on missile defense cooperation with Russia, Ms. Gottemoller said.

The United States believes that such cooperation can enhance the security of the United States, our allies in Europe, and Russia.

“And we don’t intend to conceal anything about our plans and intentions.” -Ms. Gottemoeller

President Obama has also indicated that the US can’t limit the U.S. and NATO missile defense system to a legally binding framework.

However, President Obama has repeatedly stressed both publicly and privately that U.S. and NATO missile defense efforts are not intended nor are they capable of threatening Russia’s strategic nuclear deterrence forces.

She stresses that the US government is prepared to put that in writing and definitely prepared to do that.

I’m not naive and I know this is a difficult process, for both Moscow and Washington. It’s going to take a lot of time and effort to find a mutually acceptable solution. But I’m convinced that cooperation in this area is possible and is worth the effort.

“The United States is committed to missile defense cooperation with Russia as President Obama and Secretary Clinton have repeatedly made clear.” -Ms. Gottemoeller

Both governments are continuing to discuss a mutually acceptable approach to practical missile defense cooperation.

United States and Russia have been working together to transform mistrust into partnerships and progress as both countries affirmed cooperation in keeping global security after the end of the Cold War.

In an effort to promote understanding and cooperation on missile defense issues, Presidents Obama and Medvedev agreed at the July 2009 Moscow Summit to conduct joint assessments of missile challenges and threats, which we now refer to as the Joint Threat Assessment, or JTA, for short.

The objective of these talks has been, at a minimum, to share with one another our respective threat perspectives and, if possible, to come to agreement on the nature of the common threats that both countries face. Both Governments have held three JTA sessions, in July and December 2009, and again in May 2010.

The United States has offered a number of proposals for bilateral missile defense cooperation. Specific areas of potential cooperation include, among other things:

Joint research and development; Joint missile defense testing; Joint modeling and simulations; Missile defense exercises; and Joint analyses of alternative U.S.-Russian missile defense architectures for defending against common, regional threats.

These recent proposals build on earlier initiatives that involved sharing missile warning data and providing timely launch notifications between our two countries.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.