US will consult with Russia on missile defence, Biden vows

Other News Materials 7 February 2009 16:59 (UTC +04:00)

The United States will consult with Russia before it makes any move to deploy elements of a missile-defence system in Europe, US Vice-President Joe Biden said Saturday, dpa reported.

But his country is determined to push ahead with the system, as long as it works and is not too expensive, he told some 350 top politicians at the prestigious Munich Security Conference.

"We will continue to develop missile defence, provided the technology is proven and it is cost-effective. We will do so in consultation with ... our NATO allies and with Russia," Biden said.

US plans to site elements of a missile-defence system in Poland and the Czech Republic drawn up by former US president George W Bush have enraged Russia, which sees them as a threat to its own security.

Biden admitted that there had been a "dangerous drift" in the relationship between NATO and Russia, and called on the West to "press the reset button and re-visit the many areas where we can and should be working together with Russia."

But he insisted that the US would never allow Russia to claim a "sphere of influence" in Eastern Europe, nor recognize the independence of the breakaway Georgian territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Russia recognized the two in August after it fought a brief war over them with NATO hopeful Georgia.

Despite the differences, "America and Russia can still disagree and work together where their interests coincide - and they coincide in many places," Biden said.