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Putin 'optimistic' accord possible with US on missile defence

by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) Sept 10, 2007
Russia and the United States still have a chance to reach agreement on the vexed question of Washington's missile defence plans, President Vladimir Putin said on Monday.

"All is not lost and we still have a certain amount of healthy optimism," Putin said in comments broadcast on Russian television.

"Regarding our differences, they've always existed and of course will do so given the size of our relations and such multifaceted contacts in different spheres and areas," Putin said.

Describing differences between Moscow and Washington as "natural," Putin said: "What is important is by what means and in what style these problems are solved.

"It can be by confrontation, sabre-rattling, frightening one another -- and it's possible to look for compromises and to reach agreement," he said. "We would prefer it to be this (last) way."

Putin was speaking on a visit to the Gulf emirate of Abu Dhabi and as Russian and US officials opened talks in Paris on missile defence.

Russia has been infuriated by US plans to place missile defence facilities in the Czech Republic and Poland, countries that were ruled from Moscow in Soviet times but are now in the European Union and the NATO military alliance.

Russia has offered the use of an alternative radar in ex-Soviet Azerbaijan that would not peer into Russian territory, suspecting that the US plans are in fact aimed at Russia rather than the stated target, Iran.

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Putin, Bush fail to break missile defence tension
Sydney (AFP) Sept 7, 2007
US President George W. Bush and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin failed to make clear progress in talks Friday to defuse tensions over US missile defence plans that have angered Moscow.

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