Putin, Bush may sign missile shield document April 6

April 2nd, 2008 - 11:47 am ICT by admin  

RIA Novosti
Moscow, April 2 (RIA Novosti) A joint document to be signed by the Russian and US presidents April 6 will include issues related to missile defence, a Kremlin source said. US President George W. Bush will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia’s resort city on the Black Sea, for more discussions on NATO’s expansion and US plans to deploy elements of its missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic.

“Experts are working hard on a document within the strategic framework of Russian-US cooperation,” the source said.

“The presidents’ joint statement will include provisions on missile defence,” he added.

He said the upcoming meeting would provide “a roadmap” for future presidents in both countries.

Earlier on Tuesday, Bush said there would be no deal with Moscow on withdrawing American support for NATO bids by the former Soviet republics of Georgia and Ukraine in exchange for Russia’s acceptance of a US missile shield in Europe.

Speaking at a news conference in Kiev after talks with Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, Bush signalled his support for the two ex-Soviet states’ requests to enter the Membership Action Plan (MAP), a precursor for membership in the Western military alliance NATO.

Asked by a reporter about rumours that Washington could strike a bargain with Moscow, he said: “That is a misperception - I strongly believe that Ukraine and Georgia should be given MAP, and there’s no trade-off period.”

The US intends to deploy 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic, which it says will provide defence against ‘rogue states’ such as Iran. Moscow views the plans as a direct threat to its own security.

Moscow also vehemently opposes NATO’s further expansion around its borders. The Kremlin threatened in February to target missiles at Ukraine if Kiev joins NATO and allows Western military facilities on its territory.

Bush’s visit to Kiev is a stopover before a trip to Romania for the April 2-4 NATO summit. Putin has also been invited to the summit.
RIA Novosti

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