International

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U.S. Tries to Allay Russian Fears About Missile Defense

March 20, 2008 12:00 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Talks between America and Russia, though inconclusive, show some signs that an agreement may be reached on the U.S. missile defense system in Europe.

30-Second Summary

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Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrived in Moscow on March 17 for another round of talks regarding the missile shield plan in Europe.

The previous negotiations occurred last October, and did not make any headway on the issue.

Moscow has expressed concern with the plan to place missile-intercepting technology in Poland and the Czech Republic, saying the shield could be used against them.

The United States contends that the shield is designed to protect the West from a possible nuclear attack from Iran, a claim Russia has dismissed.

Before Gates and Rice arrived in Russia, “officials in Washington openly acknowledged that the delegation would have no new proposals to offer the Russian side,” according to The Moscow Times. At first, it also did not appear as though the talks would have any success.

However, Russia’s foreign minister “described the confidence-building measures outlined verbally by the Americans as ‘pretty serious and interesting,’” reports the BBC.

Nonetheless, press reactions to the talks have been mixed.

Russian press agency RIA Novosti urges Moscow not to rush into an agreement that could imperil the country just because Washington wants to move quickly on the plan before President George W. Bush leaves office.

On the other hand, an opinion piece from The Washington Post stresses the need for the United States to move ahead with the shield, even if it must do so without Russia’s cooperation or consent.

The talks come before the April NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania.

Headline Links: Washington attempts 'confidence building' measures

Opinion: Thoughts on the missile shield negotiations

Background: Russia’s early objections to missile defense

Related Topic: Balance of nuclear power shifts

Analysis: The purpose and efficacy of the shield

The purpose of the shield
The efficacy of the shield
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