Puntin cautiously hopeful about missile shield talks

April 6th, 2008 - 8:00 pm ICT by admin  

(Second lead)
RIA Novosti
Sochi (Russia), April 6 (RIA Novosti) Russian President Vladimir Putin said Sunday he was cautiously optimistic that his country and the US will eventually resolve their disagreements over Washington’s missile defence plans for Europe. Putin and his US counterpart George W. Bush, during their final tete-a-tete Sunday to commemorate their personal ties before leaving offices in the Black Sea resort failed to resolve differences on the missile defence.

Russia views a planned US missile base in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic as a direct threat to its security and has rejected Washington’s assurances that they were designed as protection against Iran and other Middle East states.

At a news conference after the talks, Putin, said: “Our position on the US (missile defence shield) plan remains unchanged.”

“As for strategic offensive armaments, some disagreements remain in our basic approaches,” the Russian leader told the news conference.

“But today we have been convinced once again that our American partners do not only understand our concerns but are also seeking to lift them,” Putin said at the end of a meeting that sought to draw a roadmap US-Russian strategic partnership agreement.

“I am cautiously optimistic about a final agreement. It seems to me that this is possible,” Putin told the news conference.

Putin is scheduled to hand over office to his elected successor Dmitry Medvedev May 7 when he completes two terms over eight years as president and is constitutionally barred from a third term. Bush will leave office in January after completing two successive terms, the maximum a US president can hold office.
RIA Novosti

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