U.S. urges Russia to talk again over missile shield
The Bush administration...
The Bush administration, seeking to allay Russian fears on a planned missile defence system, urged Moscow on Monday to hold talks in the coming weeks to resolve differences on the issue, according to Reuters .
State Department spokesman Robert Wood said the acting undersecretary of state for arms control, John Rood, planned to meet the Russians soon to again address their concerns over missile defence plans, although a date had not been set yet.
"We want to be clear and say that we remain interested in talking to Russia about missile defence and that they have nothing to fear from our missile defence system that we would like to set up in Europe," Wood said.
"We encourage the Russians very strongly to engage with us on missile defence," he added.
Washington wants to install a missile defence shield consisting of 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar station in the Czech Republic, a plan that Moscow sees as an act of aggression against Russia.
Wood said the Bush administration, which leaves office in January, had tried hard to convince Russia the defence system was not targeted at Moscow but to counter future rogue threats from the Middle East, particularly from Iran.
"Russia knows this and we remain willing to cooperate with them on missile defence," Wood said.
Over the weekend, after meeting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Egypt, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow hoped for constructive talks with President-elect Barack Obama`s administration on the missile defence system.
Lavrov said proposals from the Bush administration to ease Moscow`s concerns over the missile defence system "fall short" of U.S.-Russian agreements reached earlier.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said last week he would station tactical missiles in the Kaliningrad region bordering Poland in response to the planned U.S. missile system.