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Missile Shield

DW staff (dfm)
November 13, 2008

Russia will not deploy missiles in its European enclave of Kaliningrad if US President-elect Barack Obama cancels the planned American anti-missile defense system, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said.

Shop assistants watch Russian President Dmitry Medvedev making the address to the nation at a Moscow shop
Dmitry Medvedev has used all mediums to denounce US anti-missile plans for PolandImage: AP

Medvedev told French daily Le Figaro on Thursday, Nov. 13, that he thought the incoming Obama administration may be more willing to negotiate over the missile system than the incumbent Bush administration had been.

"We are prepared to drop our decision to deploy missiles at Kaliningrad if the new American administration decides to abandon its anti-missile system," he said, noting that, based on early reactions, Obama was "thinking about it."

"We hope to create frank and honest relations with the new administration and resolve problems that we were not able to resolve with the current administration," he said.

The Russian president said Moscow was willing to consider "a global defense system with the United States, the EU nations and the Russian Federation."

Medvedev also said he had spoken with Obama by telephone and would like to meet him in person soon.

Obama not backing down

President-elect Barack Obama
Obama hasn't been swayed by inflamed Russian rhetoric over the missile systemImage: AP

But Obama stated as recently as Saturday, Nov. 8, in a telephone conversation with Polish President Lech Kaczynski that he would not shy away from the anti-missile system, despite persistent pressure from Moscow to do so.

"Barack Obama has underlined the importance of the strategic partnership between Poland and the United States," Kaczynski said in a statement after the talk. "He expressed his hope of continuing the political and military cooperation between our two countries.

"He also said the anti-missile shield project would go ahead."

The US plans to build 10 interceptor missiles on Polish territory and a radar facility in the Czech Republic by 2011 to 2013. The new components would complete a system already in place in the US, Greenland and Britain.

Washington says the shield -- endorsed by NATO in February -- is aimed at defending against potential attacks by so-called "rogue states" such as Iran and North Korea and would not be aimed at Russia.

In response to the system, Medvedev has threatened to deploy short-range Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad.

New financial order

A general view of a plenary session of the United Nations Monetary Conference in Bretton Woods, N.H. on July 4, 1944
Calls have been made for a modern Bretton Woods meeting to tackle the financial crisisImage: AP

Medvedev's comments in the French daily, which is close to the administration of President Nicolas Sarkozy, were published ahead of a meeting in Washington on Saturday to deal with the financial crisis.

Medvedev said the participants must build the basis of "a new Bretton Woods."

In reconstructing the world's economic system, as the 1944 Bretton Woods meeting did, heads of the world's leading industrial nations must establish "new international credit institutions, a new accounting system, a new risk insurance system," the Russian President said.

Moscow had already suggested the development of a risk alert system that all countries would set up independently, he said.

Medvedev said he had already shared his ideas with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

"We share the same vision about the origin of the crisis," he said. "We must find the solutions to stabilize and reform the system for the long term."