Lavrov confirms US recalled its own missile defense proposal

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

From Bill Gertz, Inside the RingEllen Tauscher, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, reacted harshly to a report in this space June 16 on the draft missile-defense agreement with the Russians that was rejected by the White House amid concerns it would limit U.S. missile defenses.

Ms. Tauscher was asked about the Inside the Ring report following a speech in London and told the questioner the report was "fiction."

The draft Tauscher agreement the White House rejected included four elements, including two noncontroversial provisions on confidence-building and transparency. The two show-stoppers were provisions Moscow likely would view as legally binding limits on pointing interceptors at Russia, and other limits on numbers and capabilities of missile defenses.

Confirmation of the scrapped June agreement that was prepared for signing by President Obama at the Group of Eight summit in Deauville, France, came from an unlikely source: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Ms. Tauscher’s main missile-defense interlocutor.

Mr. Lavrov told Russia’s state-run Rossiya 24 television on July 7 that during the Deauville summit, "We discussed, at the suggestion of the Americans, the possibility of adopting a statement in which instructions would be given regarding a number of important issues that need to be settled prior to practical cooperation [on missile defense], but then, at the request of Americans, their own initiative was recalled. Well, things like this do happen."

Asked if she would like to revise and extend her remarks in light of the Russian minister’s statement, a State Department official said what Ms. Tauscher really meant by "fiction" were assertions that she was working on an agreement to limit missile defenses.  (photo: AFP/Getty)

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