US, Russia fail to resolve differences over missile shield

March 28th, 2008 - 9:28 pm ICT by admin  

RIA Novosti
Washington, March 28 (RIA Novosti) The US and Russia have made some progress on a strategic framework agreement during two days of talks here but failed to resolve the differences on the US plan for a missile defence system in Europe. “We made a lot of headway … but there are still significant issues that need to be resolved,” John Rood, acting US under secretary of state for arms control and international security, said Thursday following talks with the Russian delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak.

The talks in Washington were a follow-up to a visit to Moscow earlier this month by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defence Secretary Robert Gates.

The top officials brought proposals giving Russia access to monitor the planned missile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic.

The US wants the framework agreement, which along with missile defence covers other key bilateral issues, to be agreed on by a meeting between President George W. Bush and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in the latter’s Black Sea resort April 6.

Before the meeting in Sochi, both presidents are to attend a NATO summit in Romania earlier in April. These meetings could be their last as presidents, with Putin stepping down in May, and Bush’s term expiring next January.

US plans to deploy missiles in Poland and a radar system in the Czech Republic, Russia’s former Soviet allies, have plunged relations between Washington and Moscow to a post-Cold War low.

Washington says the defence system is needed to counter threats from Iran and other ‘rogue’ states, but Moscow treats them as a direct threat to its security.

On Thursday, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov praised US moves to ease Russian missile shield concerns, but said giving up the idea of opening new missile bases in Central Europe was the best way of addressing Moscow’s unease.

“Our position remains unaltered. The best way of addressing concerns related to the third missile site (in Europe) is to drop the plans, and switch to joint projects,” Lavrov said.
RIA Novosti

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