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Medvedev Ready To Respond If U.S. Ends Missile Plan


Medvedev: "We are ready to negotiate a 'zero option.'"

Medvedev: "We are ready to negotiate a 'zero option.'"

PARIS (Reuters) -- Russia could cancel its deployment of missiles near the Polish border if U.S. President-elect Barack Obama scraps plans for a missile-defense system in Central Europe, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said.

In an interview with the French daily newspaper "Le Figaro" published on November 13, Medvedev said Moscow had no choice but to react to U.S. plans to set up a network of missiles and radar systems near its own frontiers.

"But we are ready to abandon this decision to deploy the missiles in Kaliningrad if the new American administration, after analyzing the real usefulness of a system to respond to 'rogue states," decides to abandon its antimissile system," he said. "We are ready to negotiate a 'zero option.' We are ready to reflect on a system of global security with the United States, the countries of the European Union, and the Russian Federation."

Washington says the missile-defense system it plans to set up in Poland and the Czech Republic is needed to protect the United States against missile strikes from what it calls rogue states, notably Iran.

Russia believes the system poses a threat to its security and last week announced plans to deploy Iskander tactical missiles in the Kaliningrad region bordering Poland in response.

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

"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.

Asked about his response to the global financial crisis, which has hit the Russian banking sector hard, Medvedev said there had been a flight of capital out of Russia and moves to protect key banks and private savings were necessary.

He said the government might take stakes in certain banks, as had been done in the United States and Britain, but he said that "nationalization is not the solution" and added that any government stakes would be sold as soon as possible.
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