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Moscow, Washington May Reach Compromise on Missile Defense - Political Analyst

Missile Defense LaunchMOSCOW. May 4 (Interfax) - A possible compromise between Moscow and Washington on combining the Russian and Western missile defense systems could alleviate the potential threat to Russia's security due to the planned deployment of U.S. missile defense elements in Romania, said Alexei Makarkin, the first vice president of the Center of Political Technology.

"Any deployment of American missile defense systems in Central Europe poses a potential threat to Russia. However, a lot will depend on how the parties can agree on building a joint missile defense system, a mechanism capable of harmonizing Russian and Western systems," Makarkin told Interfax on Wednesday.

Russia and the U.S. are likely to reach a compromise on solving the problem, Makarkin said. "A compromise between Moscow and Washington looks more probable at the moment. Missile defense elements will be deployed on Romanian territory not in the near future, and therefore there is still some time to find an agreement and coordinate each other's interests so that both the Russian and Western missile defense systems could be combined in this or that format," he said.

The negotiations on these issues are unlikely to reach a deadlock, but this scenario should not be ruled out absolutely, he said.

"It is unlikely that a combined missile defense system with the West's and Russia's participation could be set up in the near future. But there are also other options, like Moscow's proposal of sectoral responsibility. There is also an alarmist scenario, presuming that we could fail to agree. In this case, the deployment of U.S. missile defense elements, particularly in Romania, could deal a very severe blow to the START treaty," he said.

At the same time, even if the negotiations lead to a negative result, Russia will not remain vulnerable, Makarkin said. "Even if the Americans make unilateral decisions posing a threat to Russia, Moscow reserves the right to withdraw from START. Everything is very clear here. Russia reserved this right beforehand," Makarkin said.

It was reported earlier that Russia was alarmed by the news that the U.S. and Romania had reached an agreement on the deployment of U.S. interceptor missiles at the former Romanian airbase of Deveselu.

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