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Friday, September 30, 2011     FOR YOUR EYES ONLY

Administration pushing missile defense accord opposed by Pentagon

Special From Bill Gertz,

The Obama administration is pressing ahead with efforts to reach an agreement with Russia on U.S. missile defenses that critics say could lead to legal restrictions on U.S. defenses in Europe.


Ellen Tauscher, the liberal under secretary of state for arms control and international security affairs who is said by Pentagon officials to oppose robust U.S. missile defenses, last week met in Moscow with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabakov in London.

The meeting was part of the arms control and international security working group of the Russian-American Presidential Commission.

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Tauscher was embarrassed last May when she had promised her Russian counterparts that President Obama would sign an understanding on missile defense at a summit in Deauville, France with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev. But the agreement was pulled from signing at the last minute amid concerns that it contained legally binding restrictions on U.S. missile defenses, something the Pentagon opposed.

Russia has been demanding a legally-binding accord that U.S. officials say is part of a strategy of constraining U.S. missile defenses that Moscow fears could be used to counter Russian strategic missiles.

On Sept. 15, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov met with German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere and voiced new worries about U.S. missile defenses. It was also disclosed by the German defense minister that a missile defense agreement is expected next year.

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