Russian leaders have praised U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision to scrap plans for a missile defence system in Europe and called for broader cooperation between the two countries.

Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev said he valued Mr. Obama’s “responsible move” and was ready to discuss further cooperation in strategic stability and missile defence during a meeting with his U.S. counterpart in New York next Wednesday.

“I believe that we will instruct the respective bodies in our two countries to step up cooperation and involve European and other interested nations,” said Mr. Medvedev in remarks shown on state television late Thursday.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Friday hailed the cancellation of U.S. missile plans as the “right and brave decision” and voiced the hope that Washington would follow up by lifting all curbs of high technology transfers to Russia and supporting a combined bid by Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus to join the World Trade Organisation.

Russia’s NATO envoy Dmitry Rogozin said on Friday Russia would now abandon plans to deploy tactical missiles in its Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad that were to counter the proposed U.S. missile defences in Poland and the Czech Republic.

The reversal of U.S. missile plans is also likely to facilitate talks on a new Russian-American nuclear arms pact to replace the Cold War-era Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which expires in less than three months. Russia may agree to slash 1,300 long-range missiles, said deputy head of the State Duma’s defence committee Igor Barinov on Friday.

However, Moscow ruled out any trade-off with the U.S. over Iran. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated on Thursday that Russia firmly opposed U.S. efforts to impose additional sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme.

“Russia is not duty bound to pay to anyone to correct their own mistakes,” said Mr. Rogozin.


NATO reaches out to Moscow September 18, 2009

Reversing a provocation September 18, 2009

More In: International | News