Archive for the ‘missile defense in Europe’ Category

US, Russia can’t agree on missiles

April 6, 2008

TERENCE HUNT, AP White House Correspondent 

SOCHI, Russia – President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin failed to overcome sharp differences over a U.S. missile defense system, closing their seven-year relationship Sunday still far apart on an issue that has separated them from the beginning.

US President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin ...
US President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin heading into a a news conference in Sochi, Russia. The US leader has thanked his Russian counterpart for Moscow’s efforts to help ease international worries about Iran’s nuclear program.(AFP/Natalia Kolesnikova)

“Our fundamental attitude toward the American plan has not changed,” Putin said at a news conference with Bush at his vacation house at this Black Sea resort. “We got a lot of way to go,” Bush said. Despite the impasse, the two leaders agreed that Moscow and Washington would work together closely in the future on missile defense and other difficult issues.

Bush also conferred with Putin’s hand-picked successor, Dmitry Medvedev, but did not claim gaining any insight into his soul, as he had with Putin upon their first encounter. He pronounced Putin’s protege “a straightforward fellow” and said he was eager to work with him.

Putin was asked whether he — or Medvedev, the president-elect — would be in charge of Russia‘s foreign policy after May 7, when Putin steps down as president and is expected to be named prime minister.

Putin said Medvedev would be in charge, and would represent Russia at the Group of Eight meeting of industrial democracies in July in Tokyo. “Mr. Medvedev has been one of the co-authors of Russia’s foreign policy,” Putin said. “He’s completely on top of things.”

National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, when asked later whether he thought Putin actually was going to cede authority on Russian foreign policy to Medvedev, said, “My guess is that these two men who have worked very closely together for now almost two decades will have a very collaborative relationship. That seems to be a good thing, not a bad thing.”

Hadley, who spoke with reporters aboard Air Force One on the way home to Washington, also said he didn’t see any prospect of a breakthrough on missile defense before Bush leaves office next January. “They can leave that to their prospective successors,” he said.

At their 28th and presumably final meeting as heads of state, Bush and Putin….

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Missile defense deal unlikely in Russia

April 5, 2008

By TERENCE HUNT, Assoaciated Press

SOCHI, Russia – President Bush began a farewell call in Russia on Saturday as the White House abandoned hope of a major agreement on missile defense during weekend talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Putin vigorously opposes U.S. plans to deploy a missile defense system in Europe, an issue that has been a major irritant in U.S.-Russia relations.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said it will take more than a weekend of talks to reach a consensus.

“We’re going to have to do more work after Sochi,” Perino told reporters traveling with Bush on Air Force One from Zagreb, Croatia, where earlier in the day the president celebrated the expansion of NATO into former communist territory.

“No one has said that everything would be finalized and everyone would be satisfied with all the preparations because we haven’t even started to work on the technical aspects of the system,” Perino said. “We’re still in the early part of these discussions.”

But, Perino added, “the dialogue is headed in the right direction and that this meeting will be able to push that along even further.”

Though Russia opposes placing a missile defense system in its backyard, the concept won the full support of NATO leaders at a summit earlier this week in Bucharest, Romania, which Bush attended.

Perino said U.S. officials are working to convince Russia that it has little to fear from such a system.

“I think we have made great strides in bringing confidence to the Russians that this system is not aimed at Russia and Russia is not the enemy,” she said. “You’ve heard the president say the Cold War is over, and if you look at what NATO just did this past week on missile defense people have come to the realization that together, working cooperatively, we can help deter or prevent an attack from a rogue nation in the Middle East, not from Russia.”

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Russia may restructure forces to counter U.S. missile defense in Europe

January 30, 2008

MOSCOW. Jan 30 (Interfax-AVN) – The Russian Defense Ministry plansto restructure its military forces in the Kaliningrad region in responseto the U.S. plans to deploy its missile defense elements in Europe.

“The General Staff, assisted by our Main Department, is consideringhow we will structure our forces in the Kaliningrad special district toguarantee the protection of Russian interests,” Lt. Gen. VladimirShamanov, the chief of the Russian armed forces’ Main Combat Trainingand Service Department, told journalists on Wednesday.

“It is not a secret that the visit of the defense minister toKaliningrad late last year allows us to view the Kaliningrad specialdistrict in a new military and political light in relation to U.S. planson missile defense in Europe,” the general said.

Asked whether the Russian northwestern group of forces will bebuilt up, Shamanov said that the “formation of a group is a prerogativeof the General Staff and the Russian Security Council.”