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November 8, 2012 10:12 am
MOSCOW, Nov 8 – Russia expects President Barack Obama to show more flexibility in a dispute over US missile defence plans following his re-election, the country’s deputy prime minister said on Thursday.
The controversy over the planned missile shield has strained the relations between the US and Russia. Moscow has rejected Washington’s assurances that the shield is intended to fend off potential missile threats from Iran and voiced concern the system could threaten Russia’s nuclear deterrent.
In March, Mr Obama, unaware that he was speaking on an open microphone, told Dmitry Medvedev, then Russian president, that he would have more flexibility on the issue after November’s election.
Dmitry Rogozin, deputy prime minister, appeared to try to remind Mr Obama of his promise when he said on Thursday that Moscow hopes the US president will take into account Russia’s concerns about the US-led Nato missile defence for Europe.
“We hope that President Obama after his re-election will be more flexible on the issue of taking into account the opinions of Russia and others regarding a future configuration of Nato’s missile defence,” Mr Rogozin told an international conference in Moscow.
Russia has urged the US to provide guarantees that any future shield is not aimed against it and threatened to target elements of the US shield with missiles if no agreement is reached.
Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, said on Thursday that the US promises to inform Moscow about details of the shield weren’t enough, adding that Moscow would continue pushing for firm guarantees from Washington.
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