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10 Sep, 2007 18:43

Russia & U.S. continue search for ABMs compromise

Russian and U.S. diplomats have met in Paris for a second round of talks on missile defence. Russia opposes the U.S. plans to install a missile defence shield in Eastern Europe and in July presented a detailed alternative.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in Abu Dhabi the negotiations over the U.S. missile defence plan are continuing.

The United States says it's keen to work with Russia on its plans. Washington wants to base parts of its missile defence system in Poland and the Czech Republic. Moscow objects to the move saying it could jeopardise national security because interceptors so near to its borders could shoot down Russian missiles and a radar could be used to spy on Russia.

The U.S. insists it just wants protection against threats from the Middle and Far East.

“The system is obviously not directed at Russia, it is directed at eliminating threat from the Middle East. We think it has virtually no capability against Russian missiles,” stated John C. Rood, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State.

Russia has proposed other sites for the missile defence system such as Azerbaijan or southern Russia. The U.S. Plans to send a team of experts to Azerbaijan to look into the Russian proposal.

 However, analysts in France say it looks like negotiations could be drawn out.

“The elections are coming up in both countries and in that context it seems unlikely that either side will make concessions; I suspect Russia is not too bothered if time keeps passing because it hopes the next American administration will be a bit more flexible over this issue, so maybe with time the two sides will find a solution,” Isabelle Facon from Strategic Research Foundation, commented.

Both sides continue trying to find a compromise.

Although Washington says it wants to collaborate with Russia on missile defence, at the same time it continues  to plan the setting up of ten interceptors in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic. Moscow continues to object to this plan. It looks as if any progress made will be on collaboration either in Azerbaijan southern Russia or potentially in yet another site.