Sunday, Nov 23, 2008
The Russian and U.S. leaders have agreed to continue cooperation despite existing disagreements, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Sunday.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his U.S. counterpart George W. Bush met in the Peruvian capital on Saturday as part of a two-day summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.
“Both presidents said that disagreements persisted in relations between the two countries but there was unanimous desire to deal with the solution of practical issues important for both countries and for the entire international community,” Lavrov said.
(ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW)
Lavrov said consultations between Russia and the United States on the U.S. plans to deploy missile shield elements in Central Europe would be held in December.
“We discussed the missile shield issue with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Consultations will be held in December,” Lavrov said.
Moscow has fiercely opposed the planned deployment of 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic saying they will pose a threat to its security. Washington has said the bases are needed to counter possible strikes from “rogue” states like Iran.
The two countries have held a series of talks on the issue, but failed to reach a compromise.
The Russian president earlier threatened to deploy Iskander-M short-range missiles in the country’s Kaliningrad exclave, which borders NATO members Poland and Lithuania, if the U.S. missile defense system was deployed in Central Europe.
Lavrov also said the Russian and U.S. leaders would come out with proposals to jointly fight pirate attacks on merchant vessels off Somalia.
Pirates are increasingly active in the waters off Somalia, where more than 60 ships have been attacked so far this year resulting in the seizure of around 30 vessels. The East African nation has been without a functioning government since 1991 and has no navy to police its coastline.
International concern over shipping safety in the region has risen since a huge tanker carrying up to 2 million barrels of Saudi oil was seized last week.
This article was posted: Sunday, November 23, 2008 at 5:49 am