MOSCOW, July 7 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow hopes that Washington will realize the 'counter productivity' of its plan to deploy elements of U.S. missile shield in central Europe, the Russian foreign minister said on Tuesday.
"I hope that the revision [of the missile shield plans] in Washington... will result in an understanding that unilateral steps in this sphere are counterproductive," Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with Russia's Vesti channel.
U.S. President Barack Obama, currently in Moscow on a three-day visit, has shown less interest than President George Bush in opening a missile interceptor base in Poland and a radar station in the Czech Republic, which Moscow has fiercely opposed as a security threat.
Obama has not yet announced a final decision on whether to move ahead with the missile shield. The Bush administration said the missile defense shield elements were to counter possible strikes from "rogue" states, and not aimed against Russia.
"They [the U.S.] want to analyze this project, and they intend to complete their review in a two- or three-month period, as President Obama promised President Medvedev," Lavrov said.
Medvedev said on Monday after talks with the U.S. leader that the Obama administration, unlike its predecessor, had taken a pause and was examining the situation to formulate a final position on the missile defense plans.
Lavrov also said that talks on a new treaty to replace the START 1 deal due to expire in December would be completed by the end of the year.
"There are reasons to believe that we will complete the work by December," Lavrov said.
He added that Russia would want any new START treaty to stipulate large cuts in strategic delivery systems.
"We are for the maximum possible limits on delivery systems," he said.
The Russian and U.S. presidents signed a preliminary agreement on Monday to cut their countries' nuclear arsenals to 1,500-1,675 operational warheads and their strategic delivery systems to between 500-1,100 units.