Archive for the ‘missile defenses’ Category

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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Departing Putin Seeks to Stop NATO Gains , Missile Defense

March 31, 2008
By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV, Associated Press Writer 

MOSCOW – This week’s NATO summit in Romania will be Vladimir Putin‘s last appearance at a top-level international forum before he steps down as Russian president, still pushing to halt NATO‘s expansion into the stomping grounds of the former Soviet Union.
Natalya Vitrenko, who heads an anti-American party, left, burns ... 
Natalya Vitrenko, who heads an anti-American party, left, burns a NATO flag while rallying in front of U.S. Embassy to protest U.S. President George W. Bush’s visit and Ukraine’s efforts to join NATO, in Kiev, Ukraine, Monday, March 31, 2008.(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

The Kremlin realizes it doesn’t have the power to force the West to reverse its recognition of Kosovo’s independence or persuade Washington to drop its plan to deploy missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic.

But Putin has had notable success in blocking NATO membership for its former Soviet neighbors — Ukraine and Georgia.

“Georgia’s accession into NATO will be seen here as an attempt to trigger a war in the Caucasus, and NATO membership for Ukraine will be interpreted as an effort to foment a conflict with Russia,” said Sergei Markov, a Russian parliament member with close links to the Kremlin.

Amid a litany of such threats from Moscow, some NATO members are reluctant to inflame tensions at the three-day summit that begins Wednesday in Bucharest.

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