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Lavrov, Rice discuss missile defence: Moscow

Russian president sees Obama flexible on missile defense
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Sunday he believed US president-elect Barack Obama would be open to changing position over a hotly contested US plan for a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe. "They don't have a once and for all prepared template for solving this problem," Medvedev told reporters in Peru where he attended an Asia-Pacific summit. "It means dialogue is possible," he said. "A change of position if possible."

Missile talks with Russia end without agreement
The United States and Russia ended a week of talks here without coming to any agreement on a new nuclear weapons treaty, the US mission said in a statement. The Cold War-era Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) signed between the US and the Soviet Union expires in December 2009 and Washington and Moscow are seeking to thrash out terms of a new accord. The former Soviet republics of Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan also took part in the talks. Prior to the Geneva meeting, Washington's negotiator John Rood had said the US had submitted a proposal focused on limiting nuclear warheads, even though Russia wanted to open up the negotiations to limits on conventional forces and missile defence. "The parties desire to point out that there was no treaty requirement to make a decision to extend the treaty at this meeting," the US statement said. "The United States of America, the republic of Belarus, the republic of Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation and Ukraine will continue to consider the issue," it added.
by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) Nov 23, 2008
Russia's foreign minister said Sunday he had a "constructive" meeting with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on topics including missile defence, arms control and Somali piracy.

Rice pledged to "try to consider Russian concerns" on missile defence in the meeting Saturday on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific summit in Peru, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in comments posted on the ministry's website.

"We discussed the consultations on the problems of arms control and missile defence set to take place in December. The Secretary of State said again she would try to consider Russian concerns. We will see how things go," he said.

Moscow has reacted furiously to US plans to build parts of a planned missile shield in Eastern Europe, despite US assurances that the shield is not directed against Russia's vast nuclear arsenal.

Washington says the shield is meant to protect from attacks by "rogue" states like Iran.

On Somali piracy, Lavrov said he and Rice had discussed the "necessity of more active efforts" in the United Nations Security Council and said actions should be taken against the pirates on land as well as at sea.

"Everything needs to be done: not just fighting this evil on the water, but also trying to bring some sort of order on Somalia's coast in cooperation with the legitimate government of this state," he said.

"The exchange of opinions turned out to be constructive," he concluded.

Saturday's summit also led to a meeting between US President George W. Bush and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who pledged to cooperate on issues of shared interest despite sharp differences between the two countries.

Tensions between Moscow and Washington grew sharply this year over missile defence and Russia's brief war with Georgia in August.

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US to activate anti-missile radar in Israel next month
Jerusalem (AFP) Nov 22, 2008
A radar system, which the United States agreed in July to deploy in Israel to counter a perceived missile threat from Iran, is to go operational in mid-December, army radio reported on Saturday.

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