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3 Jul, 2007 23:27

Sport brings Russia & Guatemala together

International defence has been taking prominence over international sport as Russian and Guatemalan leaders hold talks. It was Russia-Guatemala's developing relations that dominated the agenda.

But the IOC session that gave the two leaders a chance to meet and talk could boost the ties.

“It's a great honour for me to greet President Putin and thank him for his efforts. We hope this visit will be very pleasant and successful. We are receiving you with open arms, respect and admiration,” said Oscar Berger, Guatemalan President.

It appears that the distant Guatemala could unexpectedly become a land of opportunities for Russian companies.

Far from Russia, Guatemala is close to the US and Mexican energy markets, and Russian energy producers could use it as a launch pad for their American expansion.

But despite these promising prospects it is Putin's summit with George W. Bush that intrigued the press the most. The day after Moscow extended its bold missile defense co-operation offer to the U.S., the reaction from the other side is still not very clear. And the Russian President isn't hurrying his American counterpart.

“We understand that it's very hard to reply to these proposals immediately. The reaction seemed positive. We will wait for the final answer,” Vladimir Putin commented.

At the summit in Kennebunkport Mr Putin said the newest radar project in southern Russia currently under construction could be used by both Moscow and Washington. The initiative came as an additional to Putin's previous unexampled proposal for the U.S. to jointly use Russian missile radar in Azerbaijan instead of constructive one in Czech republic. President Putin's confident rushes offer will help make the world a safer place. 

“We think if these proposals are accepted the international situation will change slowly but surely and international security will strengthen. The nature of American-Russian relations will also change, slowly but surely becoming strategic,” Vladimir Putin said.

But some experts doubt that the U.S. will revise its plans to develop AMD elements including radar station and missile interception in Poland and the Czech Republic.

While hailing Russia's move, Washington sticks to its view Eastern Europe must remain an integral part of the AMD system. Moscow's concerned these elements in fact would be directed against its nuclear potential, and not against so-called 'rogue states', as Washington claims.