Russia views the upcoming meeting between the Russian defense and foreign ministers and the U.S. defense and state secretaries in Washington on August 9 as an important preparatory event before a meeting between the two presidents scheduled for September, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said.
"And, certainly, we will be mulling over issues that should be discussed in Moscow. The main problem and the potential point of disagreement we now face is the matter of missile defense," Antonov told Russian journalists in Brussels on Thursday.
The United States believes that the missile defense problem can be solved through transparency, which would alleviate Russia's concerns, Antonov said.
"We believe that work on the transparency of the process is a step in the right direction, but it is not enough. Transparency could be part of a set of measures that would help alleviate Russian concerns," he said.
"We want to understand clearly that this project on which we will be cooperating will not be directed against us under certain circumstances in the future," Antonov said.
He pointed out, in particular, that the United States' recent decision not to go through with the deployment of interceptors in a certain part of Europe does not actually alleviate Russia's concerns.
"What is the most important for us is that there has been no predictability," Antonov said. Russia would like to see a document "that would guarantee that the Russian Defense Ministry's contributions to a common cooperation project on missile defense would not be later used against it."
The Russian delegation also intends to discuss aspects of military-technological cooperation with the United States, "which would help us make certain steps forward in the development of relations between our two agencies," Antonov said.
"We are curious to know what is happening in the U.S. armed forces with the funding cuts. We, for our part, will be ready to share our experiences," he said.
The participants in the meeting will also talk about an agreement on defense technologies, negotiations about which have been going on for a long time, he said.
"We have some questions regarding this agreement, because it should not be drawn up for the sake of producing some piece of paper. I always proceed from the assumption that it is necessary first to define particular projects and then think whether the legal basis is sufficient for the projects on the table. And if it is not sufficient, then an agreement should be concluded, but not vice versa, first make an agreement and then start thinking what we can find that fits into it," he said.
"Certainly, we are interested in working together with the United States. But we are interested in this just as much as they themselves are ready for such an interaction," he said.
The defense minister also presumed that the United States would bring up the matter of nuclear arms reductions based on President Barack Obama's statement in Berlin in June.
However, he insisted that a new phase of talks on nuclear disarmament cannot be started without taking into account a number of factors that Russia intends to discuss in Washington.
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