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US-Russian missile defence talks fail

US-Russian missile defence talks fail
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For the moment it appears there is no progress between America and Russia on Washington’s plan to deploy an anti-missile system in eastern Europe. Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov says talks today between himself and US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice have failed to reach agreement.

Talks will resume in six months says Lavrov: “We believe that to make the joint work of Russian and US experts most effective, plans on deploying the third positioning region of the missile defence should be frozen,” he added.

Moscow still wants the US to abandon a radar base in the Czech Republic in favour of upgrading its own radar facility in Azerbaijan. It is also unhappy at the idea of interceptor missiles linked to the radar based in Poland. Rice says talks will continue: “The US is engaged in discussions with our allies, and those will continue. We will work during this time to address Russian concerns about the nature of the system, about what is our not-yet-shared view of the missile threat.”

The US claims there could be an imminent threat from missile-capable and maybe soon nuclear-capable Iran. Russia prefers to try to defuse Iran’s menace by diplomacy, again today saying “unilateral sanctions and threats of force”
were not “useful”, and “contradicted our collective efforts.”

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