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Rice: No Deal Yet with Moscow on Missile Defense

By VOA News
18 March 2008


U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says no agreement has been reached with Russia on U.S. plans to deploy a missile defense system in Central Europe.

However, the secretary said the two sides have agreed to put together a strategic framework document on strategic arms reductions.

Rice spoke Tuesday in Moscow, after a second and final day of talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Both she and Lavrov described the talks as constructive and useful.

The United States is moving forward with plans to deploy 10 missile interceptors in Poland and guidance radar in the Czech Republic. President Bush says the missile defense system will protect against threats from extremist regimes.

For its part, Moscow says Western missiles near its borders threaten Russia's security and could spark a new arms race.

Before Tuesday's meeting, Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates met with several top Russian opposition and business leaders.

However, former chess champion Garry Kasparov and former Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov say they were not invited to the meeting.

President Vladimir Putin said Monday he had received a "very serious" letter from President Bush, in which he said Mr. Bush said some bilateral problems can be resolved fully. Mr. Putin did not offer details.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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