LOUGH ERNE, June 18 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted on Tuesday that disagreements over the deployment of a US missile shield in Europe still remain, but Moscow and Washington should boost the transparency of actions related to the dispute.
“The disagreements still remain, but I agree, in general, with US President [Barack] Obama that what we must and certainly can do in this area is make all our actions more open and transparent," Putin said at a press conference after the conclusion of the G8 summit in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland.
Putin said that the sides would continue discussions on the issue during Obama’s visit to Russia for the G20 summit on September 5 and 6.
The US missile defense system in Europe, which NATO and the US say is aimed at countering threats from North Korea and Iran, has been a particular source of friction in US-Russian relations for a number of years.
Russia and NATO formally agreed to cooperate over the European missile defense system at the 2010 NATO summit in Lisbon, but talks foundered, in part over Russian demands for legal guarantees that the system would not target its strategic nuclear deterrent.
In mid-March, the US announced that it was modifying its planned missile defense deployment to Poland, dropping plans to station SM-3 IIB interceptors in the country by 2022.
Russian officials responded by saying this did nothing to allay their concerns over US missile defense in Eastern Europe, and reiterated their demand for legally binding agreements guaranteeing that Russia’s strategic nuclear forces would not be targeted.
Although analysts were quick to interpret the US change in plan as a concession to Russia, possibly intended to pave the way for further bilateral talks on nuclear arms reduction, US officials repeatedly refuted this suggestion.