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Rice Continues Missile Defense Talks in Moscow

15 May 2007

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin, later Tuesday for talks aimed at improving ailing U.S.-Russian relations ahead of next month's G-Eight Summit in Germany, when President Putin will meet President George Bush. For more on the story, we go to VOA's Lisa McAdams in Moscow.

Russia's resistance to American plans to deploy an anti-missile defense shield in Poland, the Czech Republic and a third - as yet unnamed - nation in the Caucasus is expected to dominate the Rice-Putin talks at the Kremlin.

Also on the agenda, American concerns Russia, under Putin, is back-tracking on democratic gains and about Russia's resistance to a draft United Nations Security Council resolution supporting supervised independence for Kosovo.

On all topics, the divide between the United States and Russia is wide, according to the Director of the Heritage Foundation in Moscow, Yevgeni Volk.

"I would not overestimate the feasible results of Ms. Rice's talks in Moscow," he said. "I believe both sides will repeat their positions, reiterate their claims, but, unfortunately, I don't believe, at present, much success can be achieved at bringing each other's positions closer to each other."

Volk says, with U.S.-Russian relations now at one of their lowest points in the past two decades, disagreements will prevail over common ground.

Rice was more optimistic, on arrival in Russia Monday. She told reporters there is no reason to speak of a new "Cold War" between Russia and the United States, although she acknowledges it is not an easy time for the bilateral relationship.

Mr. Putin has accused the United States of making the world a more dangerous place, while Ms. Rice terms the concentration of power in the Kremlin "troubling."

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