Insiders: Major Headway Unlikely From U.S.-Russia Talks

Global Security Newswire Staff
Aug. 9, 2013, 8:02 a.m.

A series of Fri­day top-level ex­changes between Rus­sia and the United States has little chance of yield­ing sig­ni­fic­ant pro­gress on any key point of con­ten­tion between the sides, in­clud­ing an en­trenched dis­pute over Wash­ing­ton’s mis­sile de­fense plans for Europe, U.S. gov­ern­ment per­son­nel told Re­u­ters.

A lack of pro­gress on the an­ti­mis­sile stan­doff fed in­to Pres­id­ent Obama’s de­cision this week to back out of a planned Septem­ber meet­ing with Rus­si­an Pres­id­ent Vladi­mir Putin. Mo­scow has de­man­ded a leg­ally en­force­able guar­an­tee that soph­ist­ic­ated U.S. in­ter­cept­ors slated for de­ploy­ment in Europe would nev­er be aimed at Rus­si­an stra­tegic mis­siles. The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has spurned that re­quest, say­ing it does not have the au­thor­ity to make such a prom­ise.

Still, U.S. De­fense Sec­ret­ary Chuck Hagel and Sec­ret­ary of State John Kerry will mount a new ef­fort to clear up Mo­scow’s wor­ries about the an­ti­mis­sile plans when they meet with their Rus­si­an coun­ter­parts on Fri­day, an U.S. gov­ern­ment in­sider said.

The talks were un­der way as of Fri­day morn­ing, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­por­ted. A morn­ing ex­change between Hagel and Rus­si­an De­fense Min­is­ter Sergei Shoigu was to be fol­lowed by a mid-day gath­er­ing of all four of­fi­cials and an af­ter­noon meet­ing between Kerry and Rus­si­an For­eign Min­is­ter Sergei Lav­rov, AP re­por­ted sep­ar­ately on Fri­day.

One of Lav­rov’s depu­ties said “the Amer­ic­an ideas [on mis­sile de­fense] and our con­cerns seem to ex­ist in dif­fer­ent di­men­sions, and we have so far been un­able to find where they in­ter­sect,” In­ter­fax re­por­ted on Wed­nes­day.

“Without an agree­ment on an­ti­mis­sile de­fense which will dis­pel all our con­cerns, any fur­ther steps to­ward nuc­le­ar dis­arm­a­ment are im­possible,” Rus­si­an Deputy For­eign Min­is­ter Sergei Ry­ab­kov ad­ded in re­marks quoted on Wed­nes­day by the Xin­hua News Agency.

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