Russia, US talks on missile defence end without accord

March 19th, 2008 - 12:42 am ICT by admin  

Moscow, March 18 (DPA) The day-long meeting between top US and Russian officials ended Tuesday without compromise on vehemently disputed US plans to deploy a missile defence shield in Europe that Russia views as a threat to its security. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the two countries had “not yet reached an agreement - I mean, above all, on the missile defence system and a future arms control regime,” news agency Interfax reported.

But an abundance of positive rhetoric from both sides surrounding the meetings of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defence Secretary Robert Gates in Moscow transformed into promises for further rounds of negotiations.

Lavrov said while “the US had confirmed its intention to build a missile defence site in Europe, it had approached Russia with important useful proposals.”

Rice said differences between the two powers could be addressed in “an atmosphere of mutual respect”.

Ties between Washington and Moscow have soured in recent months over hot button security issues such as Iran, the US missile defence plans, expiring Cold War arms control treaties and Kosovo’s independence.

The US says it wants to base the missile defence system in eastern Europe by 2013 to protect against Iran’s growing ballistic missile capability. But Russia believes the system would threaten its nuclear deterrent and has warned it could target the sites.

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