A formal agreement guaranteeing that NATO and Russian missile defense systems are not directed against each other is the key to cooperation, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday.
"It is not intentions but capabilities that count," he said in an interview with Ekho Moskvy radio.
"This is not the first time we are being told, 'This is not directed against you,' and then end up with problems on our hands," he said.
Moscow would like to have legal guarantees before going ahead with a joint missile-defense system, Lavrov said.
"Needless to say, for our part, we are ready to provide such guarantees," Lavrov said.
Russia and NATO agreed to cooperate on the so called Euro missile defense system at the Lisbon summit in November 2010. NATO insists there should be two independent systems, while Russia favors a joint system.
Moscow's stance on European missile defense is that NATO defends the territory of NATO member states while Russia defends its own territory, Lavrov said.
"NATO's [control] button will always be the U.S. button. The same goes for our button: We will have sole control of our button," the Russian minister said.
MOSCOW, March 2 (RIA Novosti)