Lavrov says Russia and the US still have differences over missile defense

March 18, ,2008

Moscow (AP) — Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Tuesday that Russia and the U.S. still disagree over a missile shield for central Europe, while U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the system “would not constitute a threat” to Moscow.

After talks with Gates and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Lavrov told a news conference that Moscow still sees a “risk” to Russia in the U.S. plans to deploy missile defense facilities in central Europe.

But both Lavrov and Rice voiced confidence that Washington and Moscow can continue to work constructively on this and a wide array of issues.

“When we have differences, we can talk about them in an atmosphere of mutual respect,” Rice said, backing Lavrov’s belief that the two sides disagree about the positioning of the missile defense system.

Gates, joining Lavrov and Rice at a news conference, said that “we’ve leaned very far forward in this to provide assurance” that the system is not a threat.

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