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Gates And Ivanov Recall Old Times

The Russians are unhappy about US talks with Poland and the Czech Republic to build missile defence bases. "We do have differences. There's no question about that," Gates said. "But I think having conversations like this, having a frank discussion is clearly the best way to go." Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Seville (AFP) Spain, Feb 8, 2007
When US Defence Secretary Robert Gates shook hands here Thursday with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov it was a Cold War reunion of sorts. As a Soviet analyst, Gates rose to the top of the Central Intelligence Agency during the Cold War while Ivanov was a spy for the Soviet KGB. "As we sat down we commented about two old intelligence guys getting together," Gates told reporters after the meeting on the sidelines of a NATO defence ministers meeting.

US defence officials traveling with Gates were unusually closed-mouth ahead of the meeting and reporters were given only a minute-long glimpse of the two men as they shook hands and sat down across from each other at a conference table.

"Congratulations," Ivanov told Gates as they met, alluding to his appointment as defense secretary in December.

"Or condolences," Gates wryly replied.

The talks come amid growing friction between Washington and Moscow over a host of issues, including what to do about Iran, the Palestinian territories, and Russia's use of its energy resources as a club to keep former Soviet republics in line.

The Russians are unhappy about US talks with Poland and the Czech Republic to build missile defence bases.

"We do have differences. There's no question about that," Gates said. "But I think having conversations like this, having a frank discussion is clearly the best way to go."

Source: Agence France-Presse

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