PITTSBURGH, September 25 (RIA Novosti) - Revision of U.S. missile shield plans was not made as a concession to Russia but was dictated by Washington's interests, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday.
U.S. President Barack Obama announced last Thursday that Washington would not deploy a radar system in the Czech Republic and a missile base in Poland due to a re-assessment of the threat from Iran. Moscow fiercely opposed the Europe-based missile defense plans as a national security threat.
"This decision, which was dictated by his [Obama's] vision of the protection of U.S. interests. It is not a pro-Russian decision, but it is important that Barack Obama listened and analyzed what I said...This means that we are learning how to hear each other," Medvedev told students and professors from the University of Pittsburgh.
He also called Obama's revised missile defense plans "a courageous decision."
"To change plans made by the previous administration on the issue of foreign rather that domestic policy is not a simple decision. I attempted to put myself in his [Obama's] shoes and realized that it was a tough decision to make," the Russian president said.
The White House said in its Fact Sheet on U.S. Missile Defense Policy released September 17 that two major developments had led to the revision of the U.S. strategy in Europe: the increasing threat from Iran's short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, rather than intercontinental ballistic missiles, and the significant advances in the U.S. missile defense capabilities in recent years.
Under the new four-phase missile shield plan until 2020, the U.S. will initially deploy warships equipped with Aegis Weapons System and SM-3 interceptor missiles in the Mediterranean and the North Sea.
Medvedev pointed out at the recent improvement in relations between Moscow and Washington, but said they had potential for further development.
"I would want them to become better than they are today, although they have certainly improved compared to the past," he said.