Russia says U.S. talks produced no progress on missiles

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 19, 2013 1:51 PM
Russia says U.S. talks produced no progress on missiles

By Denis Dyomkin

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Russia and the United States remain at odds over U.S. plans for an anti-missile shield in Europe following talks in Moscow this week with President Barack Obama's national security adviser, a senior aide to President Vladimir Putin said on Friday.

White House national security adviser Tom Donilon met Putin and senior Russian officials in the highest-level face-to-face talks since Obama began a new term in January at a time of tense relations with Moscow.

"There is no progress on missile defense," Putin's foreign policy aide Yuri Ushakov said, according to news agency RIA.

Moscow says a missile defense system the United States is deploying in Europe together with NATO, mainly to combat a potential threats from Iran, may undermine Russia's security and upset the post-Cold War balance of power.

The Pentagon said last month it would station additional missile interceptors in Alaska in response to North Korean threats and at the same time forgo a new type of interceptor that would have been deployed in Europe as part of the shield.

NATO and U.S. officials have expressed hope that the change could help end the standoff by removing what Russia has called a chief concern: that the system's interceptors could eventually shoot down its long-range nuclear missiles.

But Ushakov said that U.S. proposals he said were laid out in a message delivered by Donilon contained little that was new and "did not make us very happy", though he added that Russia would examine them further, RIA reported.

He did not describe the proposals. In the past, the United States has offered ways to cooperate on missile defense, including joint assessments of threats, but has rejected Russia's call for a closely integrated joint system.

U.S. missile defense plans have been an irritant in ties for years.

The countries are also at odds over the war in Syria, and relations have been increasingly strained over human rights issues and what Putin's critics say is a crackdown on dissent since he returned to the presidency last May.

However, in a sign of an effort to improve ties, the White House said after Donilon's talks that Putin and Obama would hold a bilateral summit in September, when Russia hosts the G20 summit, in addition to meeting during a G8 summit in June.

(Writing by Steve Gutterman; Editing by Alison Williams)