Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev gives an interview to CNN news channel (RIA Novosti/Dmitry Astakhov)Prior to the US presidential election, Obama promised ‘more flexibility’ with Russia during his second term in the office. But Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says Washington’s position on the missile shield is still driving the two countries apart. “No ease in relations over missile defense, no flexibility arose. We stand at the same positions – the position of the United States is one, the position of the Russian Federation is, unfortunately, different. And the convergence of these positions is not happening,” Medvedev told CNN.Speaking to the “Fareed Zakaria GPS” program at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the prime minister expressed his concerns over the on-going anti-missile defense program provided by NATO, involving several countries bordering on Russia.“We clearly understand that if we do not have guarantees such as the pairing of our
programs, that means that missile defense could also work against the Russian nuclear arsenal. What does this mean? This means that the parity, which we recorded with President Obama by signing the New START treaty (a very important and very helpful treaty, by the way: I think this is the achievement of the so-called reset), [the parity] is being cracked by that, because the missile defense – is a direct continuation of nuclear offensive capability, combat nuclear weapons,” emphasized Medvedev.Assad’s chances of retaining power get ‘smaller and smaller’Discussing the ongoing civil war in Syria, which has seen around 60,000 people killed there during almost two years, Medvedev said that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s chances of retaining power are getting “smaller and smaller” every day.”President Assad made a mistake in carrying out political reforms. He had to do everything much more quickly, attracting to his side part of the moderate opposition, which was ready to sit with him at the same table. This is a considerable mistake, maybe a fatal one,” said Medvedev adding that Assad’s days could be numbered. Medvedev reiterated calls for talks between the government and its foes and repeated Moscow’s position that Assad must not be pushed out by external forces.“Therefore, the task of the international community and all countries – and the United States and the Europeans, and regional powers, such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other countries – to put parties together at the negotiating table, but not just demand that Assad should leave, and then he is either executed like Gaddafi, or carried on a stretcher at the hearing, as they are carrying now Hosni Mubarak,” concluded the PM.