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Thread: U.S.-Russia Missile Defense Talks Fail

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    U.S.-Russia Missile Defense Talks Fail

    US-Russia Missile Defense Talks Fail

    Associated Press Writer

    MOSCOW (AP) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin warned President Bush's top two Cabinet officials on Friday to back off U.S. missile defense plans for eastern Europe as high-level talks yielded little more than a pledge to meet again.

    Despite presenting new cooperation proposals intended to bring Moscow on board, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates failed in a series of tough meetings to turn around Moscow's opposition to the system and other strategic issues.

    Putin set the tone early on when he hosted Rice and Gates and their Russian counterparts at his country home outside Moscow and delivered a stern rebuff to U.S. plans to push ahead with establishing missile defense facilities in Poland and the Czech Republic.

    In combative comments that took the U.S. side aback during a photo session, Putin criticized Bush's pet project and threatened to pull out of a Cold War-era treaty that limits intermediate-range missiles.

    "We may decide someday to put missile defense systems on the moon, but before we get to that we may lose a chance for agreement because of you implementing your own plans," he told Rice and Gates in Russian, according to an Associated Press translation.

    "We hope that in the process of such complex and multifaceted talks you will not be forcing forward your previous agreements with eastern European countries," Putin said.

    The United States has repeatedly rejected Russian demands to freeze U.S. negotiations with Poland and the Czech Republic and Rice did so again Friday, said three senior U.S. officials present at the sessions with Rice, Gates, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov.

    The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe diplomatic discussions, maintained that differences were narrowed but progress was incremental and might not produce ultimate understandings.

    "I agree that we did not agree on anything today," one official told reporters. He added quickly that neither Washington nor Moscow had expected significant breakthroughs.

    Rice and Lavrov announced at a news conference after the meetings that the two sides would meet again in Washington in six months to review a "strategic framework" on evaluating and addressing the missile threat posed by rogue states, principally Iran.

    The U.S. proposals are intended to ease fears that its missile defense plans threaten Russia's nuclear deterrent and include the creation of a so-called "joint regional missile defense architecture" that would protect the United States, NATO allies in Europe and Russia.

    As part of that scheme, experts from all nations covered by the system would be based at missile defense facilities to try to improve coordination and transparency.

    A spokesman for Putin, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters in a conference call that "some of them are quite interesting and the Russian side will start examining this proposal."

    But, he stressed: "It will take some time before we are able to make public our estimation."

    Initial reaction from Lavrov and Serdyukov, though, was less gracious.

    "We see two serious problems with these proposals," Lavrov told reporters at the news conference with Rice, Gates and Serdyukov. He said the two sides still disagree about the threat to Europe and complained that the negotiations with the Poles and Czechs were continuing.

    Serdyukov agreed.

    "The principal thing to which we did not agree today is the deployment of anti-missile elements which have an anti-Russian character and which are to be placed in Europe," he said.

    Rice said the ideas that she and Gates presented are "conceptual at this point" and would be handed to experts to consider further.

    "I know that we don't always see eye-to-eye on every element of the solutions to these issues," Rice said. "Nonetheless, I believe we will do this in a constructive spirit, that we will make progress during these talks as we continue to pursue cooperation," she added.

    The Pentagon plans to install 10 missile interceptors in Poland, linked to a missile tracking radar in the Czech Republic. The Pentagon says the system will provide some protection in Europe and beyond for long-range missiles launched from Iran, but Russia believes the system is a step toward undermining the deterrent value of its nuclear arsenal.

    The day got off to a rocky start when Putin kept Rice and Gates waiting for 40 minutes before meeting them and then began the session with a lengthy monologue detailing Russian complaints.

    In addition to the problems with missile defense, Putin warned that Russia might abandon its obligations under a 1987 missile treaty with the United States if it is not expanded to constrain other missile-armed countries.

    Referring to the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty negotiated with the U.S. before the breakup of the Soviet Union, Putin said it must be applied to other countries, but did not mention any by name.

    "If we are unable to obtain such a goal ... it will be difficult for us to keep within the framework of the treaty in a situation where other countries do develop such weapon systems, and among those are countries located in our near vicinity," he said.

    The pact eliminated the deployment of Soviet and U.S. ballistic missiles of intermediate range and was a landmark step in arms control just two years before the fall of the Berlin Wall and later the breakup of the Soviet Union.

    U.S. officials said Russia had the right to withdraw from the treaty but expressed skepticism that the bilateral agreement could be extended to other countries, which have their own defense needs.

    Putin has also threatened to suspend Russian adherence to another arms control treaty, known as the Conventional Forces in Europe pact, which limits deployments of conventional military forces. Moscow wants it to be revised in ways that thus far have been unacceptable to U.S. and European signatories.

    Shortly before the talks with Putin began, Lavrov strolled into the house's billiards room, where American reporters had gathered, for a cigarette break. He was asked whether he expected any breakthroughs in the talks.

    "Breaks, definitely. Through or down, I don't know," he said.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #2
    AuGmENTor Guest
    Nice to see what this administration has done with 20 years of coexistence in just a few years. Do they want these things in place in case someone wants to blow up Israel?

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