NATO, Russia say still no agreement on missiles

Russia and NATO remain deadlocked on a long-running dispute over the alliance`s plan for a missile shield for Europe, officials said on Friday.

Last Updated: Dec 09, 2011, 09:40 AM IST

Brussels: Russia and NATO remain deadlocked on
a long-running dispute over the alliance`s plan for a missile
shield for Europe, officials said on Friday, and Russia warned
that time was running out for an agreement.

NATO`s Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen reported
no progress toward a deal on the contentious issue, following
a key discussion among alliance foreign ministers and Russia`s
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that came amid political
turmoil in Russia and tart criticism of the United States.

Fogh Rasmussen rejected Russian criticism that NATO is
ignoring its concerns that the planned missile system might
one day be turned on Russia. He said discussions with Russia
will continue and he expressed optimism for an initial deal
before NATO`s next global summit, in Chicago in May 2012.

"We listen, and we have listened today," Fogh Rasmussen
told journalists after the meeting with Lavrov at NATO
headquarters.

Lavrov, who speaks perfect English, spoke in clipped
Russian immediately after Rasmussen.

"Unfortunately our partners are not yet ready for
cooperation on missile defense," Lavrov said.

He left the door open for more talks, "provided that
legitimate concerns of all parties are taken into
consideration."

Russia has insisted on a treaty that would be binding on
the United States and its allies, guaranteeing that the
anti-missile system would in no way threaten Russia`s own
ballistic missiles. The US has said it`s willing to adopt a
nonbinding written agreement, but that a treaty is unworkable.

PTI