US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has walked into the missile shield summit in Russia to be told Moscow may pull out of a 20-year-old arms treaty. Rice is trying assuage Russian fears America’s anti-missile project in eastern Europe. President Vladimir Putin seems to want to widen the debate, with a call for a global treaty. On the issue of the shield he said: “We hope that you will not try to rush through earlier deals reached with eastern European countries”
Putin wants any bilateral US-Russia agreement to go global and include all countries with short and medium range missile capability. Without them, warned Putin, Russia might pull out of a 1987 treaty with the US.
Rice insists on partnership: “That which unites us in trying to deal with the threaths of terrorism, of cooperation, are much greater than the issues that divide us,” she said.
Moscow is worried about missile proliferation, and it remains sensitive to any remilitarisation in its former half of Europe.