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Annapolis conference sparks new Russia-U.S. dispute

The recent Middle East peace conference in Annapolis in the U.S. may have brought Israelis and Palestinians closer together, but it has deepened the divide between Russia and the U.S.

It was supposed to be a peace conference but instead it led to yet another round of barb trading between Russia and the United States.

While Moscow continues accusing Washington of encroaching on its security interests, the White House carries on with its democracy lessons.

A new U.S. proposal aimed at allaying Moscow’s concerns over planned missile defenses in Eastern Europe seemed to have produced quite an opposite effect.

“We are continuing to examine in detail the written proposals that we finally received, but it's already clear that it's a step backwards compared with declarations from U.S. officials in Moscow in the beginning of October,” Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

Lavrov went on to imply that the American notion of co-operation was to get what it wants without giving anything in return.

The reaction from the White House was swift.

“We are working with Russia cooperatively on many different issues,” White House press secretary Dana Perino insisted. 

One issue in particular is the observance of human rights in Russia. Through his press secretary George Bush has expressed his deep concerns about the dispersal of unauthorized rallies in several Russian cities.

But according to analysts, it is this edifying tone that makes communication difficult.

“Russians want to be treated as equals. They don’t want to be lectured. They don’t want to be used. They want to co-operate with the Americans but on equal footing,” political analyst Sergey Kurginyan said.

Relations between Russia and the United States have never been without tension but ahead of elections in Russia, the mutual irritation has picked up.

Russian officials believe the United States is trying to influence the ballots behind the scene. One example of that, according to the Kremlin, is the OSCE decision to cancel its monitoring mission to observe the parliamentary elections.

“It was done at the recommendation from the U.S. State Department. We’ll take that into account when considering our bilateral relations,” President Putin stressed.

The U.S. State Department denies any involvement, but it doesn’t change anything.

From a few moments of hot Maine summer U.S.-Russian relations have now reached a cold Moscow winter.

Temperatures between Russia and the United States are rather frosty at the moment.  However, it’s still not as bad as during the Cold War.