Russia has praised America’s decision to scrap proposals for a missile defence shield in eastern Europe. The plan, which was a cornerstone of the Bush administration, was intended to counter threats from what it called rogue states like North Korea and Iran. But Barack Obama decided it was not the right way to provide safety.
He said: “Iran’s ballistic missile programme poses a significant threat. And that’s why I’m committed to deploying strong missile defence systems which are adaptable to the threats of the 21st century.” The Kremlin made strenuous objections to the plan, which would have seen early warning radar and missiles stationed in Poland and the Czech Republic. Moscow feared the system, so close to its own borders, would pose a threat to Russia. President Dmitry Medvedev said: “Together we will work out effective measures regarding the risks of missile proliferation, measures which will take into consideration the interests and concerns of all sides and guarantee equal security to all states in Europe. We appreciate this responsible move by the US president towards realising our agreement. I am ready to continue the dialogue.” The two leaders had discussed missile proliferation when they met earlier this year in London and Moscow. President Medvedev said they had agreed then to work together to reduce the risk.