Russia, U.S. Vow to Work Through Tensions

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
Aug. 12, 2013, 10:02 a.m.

Pres­id­ent Obama on Fri­day sug­ges­ted that his coun­try “pause” to ex­am­ine factors be­hind its de­teri­or­at­ing ties with Rus­sia, but high-level lead­ers from each side vowed to press ahead in coun­ter­ing the spread of nuc­le­ar arms and stop­ping blood­shed in Syr­ia, the Wall Street Journ­al re­por­ted.

In talks the same day with their Rus­si­an coun­ter­parts, U.S. De­fense Sec­ret­ary Chuck Hagel and Sec­ret­ary of State John Kerry re­af­firmed plans to con­vene a Syr­ia peace meet­ing, as well as to take ad­di­tion­al steps against con­tro­ver­sial atom­ic ef­forts in North Korea and Ir­an.

The of­fi­cials “agreed to look for ways to work to­geth­er” on mis­sile de­fense, a high-level State De­part­ment of­fi­cial said on Fri­day. They also re­solved “to ex­plore the pos­sib­il­it­ies of fur­ther nuc­le­ar re­duc­tions,” the in­sider said in a tele­phone back­ground brief­ing with re­port­ers.

Mo­scow and Wash­ing­ton are likely to move for­ward with a plan to share more data per­tain­ing to the spread of nuc­le­ar arms, ac­cord­ing to the Kom­mersant news­pa­per. The Rus­si­an Na­tion­al Nuc­le­ar Threat Re­duc­tion Cen­ter would fa­cil­it­ate the ex­change, ac­cord­ing to the art­icle quoted by RIA Nov­osti.

An­oth­er deal would per­mit co­oper­a­tion between U.S. sci­entif­ic fa­cil­it­ies and Ros­atom, an atom­ic firm op­er­ated by the Rus­si­an gov­ern­ment, Kom­mersant re­por­ted.

Obama and Rus­si­an Pres­id­ent Vladi­mir Putin were slated to ink the deals in a bi­lat­er­al meet­ing called off by Wash­ing­ton last week. The White House cited linger­ing mis­sile de­fense and arms con­trol dis­putes in ex­plain­ing the can­cela­tion.

Speak­ing to journ­al­ists on Fri­day, Obama said Mo­scow’s grant­ing of tem­por­ary asylum to former U.S. in­tel­li­gence ana­lyst Ed­ward Snowden is “just one more in a num­ber of emer­ging dif­fer­ences that we’ve seen over the last sev­er­al months … where, you know, it is prob­ably ap­pro­pri­ate for us to take a pause, re­as­sess where it is that Rus­sia’s go­ing, what our core in­terests are.”

Putin some­times re­sembles a “bored kid in the back of the classroom,” the Journ­al quoted Obama as say­ing.

Also dur­ing Fri­day’s talks, Hagel ac­cep­ted a Rus­si­an in­vit­a­tion for his coun­try’s best tank op­er­at­ors to com­pete in an in­ter­na­tion­al tar­get-shoot­ing match in 2014, RIA Nov­osti re­por­ted.

The news ser­vice billed the planned “biath­lon” as a first-of-its-kind match in­volving a fuzzy line between sports and mil­it­ary prowess. In a pre­lim­in­ary event held out­side Mo­scow last week, four tanks painted in sunny col­ors did timed laps over harsh ter­rain and shot at no­tion­al tar­gets.

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