Missile Shield Issue will Lose Significance if Democrat Becomes US President - German Expert Rahr
Azerbaijan, Baku, 17 March / Trend corr A. Gasimova/
Should the Democratic Party come into power as a result of the upcoming presidential elections in the United States, it will not be necessary to discuss the anti-missile system with Moscow. "Should a Democrat take on the presidential position at the next United States elections, the missile defence system which Rice and Gates wish to discuss in Moscow will no longer be relevant," The German expert Alexander Rahr, the head of the Russia/Eurasia program at the German Council on Foreign Relations, said.
On 17 March, Russia's President Vladimir Putin and the newly-elected President Dmitriy Medvedev will meet with the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, and the head of the Pentagon, Robert Gates. They arrived in Moscow for a 2-day visit to participate in the Russia-US 'two plus two' consultations on the missile shield, Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe and other foreign political and defence issues of a global and regional nature.
"Bush's outgoing administration is attempting to rescue its brainchild - the missile shield, and Russia realizes that the US Congress does not want to allot a vast amount of money for a large-scale program, and if a Democrat comes into power after the presidential elections, the missile shield situation will cease to have any significance," Rahr told Trend on 17 March.
Americans have already failed to expand NATO to Ukraine and Georgia, and Germany and France will not support the expansion of NATO in the post-soviet space in the NATO summit to be held in Bucharest, the expert said. " Germany believes that the Balkans is more important and Russia will not oppose the entry of Albania, Macedonia and Croatia to the Organization," Rahr said. "The visit of Rice and Gates is primarily aimed at becoming acquainted with Medvedev, it is important for Americans to understand with whom they will be dealing with, whether with Medvedev or with Putin as previously," he said.
The German chancellor Angela Merkel opposed the entry of Ukraine and Georgia to NATO. She attributed this to the fact that only countries which have the majority of the population supporting its entry to NATO should be admitted into the organization, for instance, a larger proportion of the Ukrainian population has opposed its entry to NATO. Furthermore, NATO should not admit any country involved in regional conflicts, she said.
The foreign ministers of about 26 NATO member states got together in Brussels on 6 March and did not make a decision regarding the entrance of Ukraine and Georgia to the membership plan of the Organization.