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30 Mar, 2008 01:22

Putin & Bush set for missile tug-of-war

Missile defence is certain to dominate George Bush’s last meeting with Vladimir Putin, in his role as Russian President, in Sochi this week. Talks over the planned U.S. missile defence system in Europe have so far stalled and both men will no doubt be hop

A recent visit to Moscow by Condoleeza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates made little progress and high level talks in Washington last week also failed to reach consensus.

Washington says its missile defence system will be aimed at so-called ‘rogue states’ like Iran and North Korea and not at Russia. However, Russia doesn’t understand why an ally wants to deploy a missile system so close to its borders.
“Our General Staff and our experts think that parts of the AMD system in Europe do pose a threat to our security. If they are built, we’ll have to react adequately,” stressed President Putin in February.

Russia isn’t alone in its protest. Several times last year in both host countries Poland and the Czech republic people turned out in their masses to rail against the U.S. plans. The “No to Bases in Prague” organisation was created, who say the world should be disarming.

Other major points in the Russia-U.S. relationship include the status of Kosovo and NATO’s expansion.

Experts say nuclear terrorism does pose a potential threat to both Russia and the U.S. but this understanding doesn’t seem to help smooth the differences.

“The possibility of nuclear terrorism directed at Russia and the U.S. is real and that should unite the countries but so far that isn’t so,” says political analyst Viktor Kremenyuk.