By TERENCE HUNT, Assoaciated Press
SOCHI, Russia –
Putin vigorously opposes U.S. plans to deploy a in , an issue that has been a major irritant in U.S.-Russia relations.
White House spokeswomansaid 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, where earlier in the day the president celebrated the expansion of 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, 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 theis 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 , not from Russia.”