There is much to discuss on her agenda as US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrives in Moscow for talks with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. Relations between the two governments have been strained of late over policy differences but Rice has dismissed talk of a new cold war. Despite Putin’s stinging criticism last February of America’s foreign policy objectives, Rice says points of agreement include reining in the nuclear programmes in Iran and North Korea.
But she is going to need all her diplomatic skills to ease Moscow’s concerns about her country’s intentions to place 10 interceptors in Poland and a radar system in the Czech Republic as part of a missile defence shield for Europe.
The issue of Kosovo’s final status is also a bone of contention. The province has been under United Nations administration for the last eight years but a new plan aims to give it effective independence. Russia remains opposed and wants close ally Serbia to retain its influence.