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Russia-U.S. on verge of crisis - paper

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Relations between Russia and the United States are on the brink of a crisis, U.S. administration officials say, according to The Washington Post.
WASHINGTON, May 31 (RIA Novosti) - Relations between Russia and the United States are on the brink of a crisis, U.S. administration officials say, according to The Washington Post.

"Administration officials said privately that the situation has reached a crisis stage and needs to be reversed before it gets worse," it said, adding that the U.S. president's aides do not expect to resolve the stickiest issues dividing the two sides during the visit to the Bush family retreat on the rocky Maine coast July 1-2, but hope that the relaxed setting "will restore U.S.-Russian relations to a more constructive footing."

The paper said the White House has grown increasingly alarmed lately with "the harsh tone coming out of Moscow and its hardening positions on issues that include Iran's nuclear program, Kosovo statehood and missile defense."

But the U.S. State Department said Wednesday Moscow and Washington "have a good working relationship."

"I'm not minimizing the fact that there are real differences between us on this particular question or on other questions as well. But this is not the Cold War. This is not the U.S. and the Soviet Union. They're a major power, they're an important country, and we are very pleased that we can and have worked with them so well on a variety of issues, including some of those questions that I just talked about," Deputy Spokesman Tom Casey said.

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