Putin, Rice agree to improve ties, differences remain
May 15, 2007 - 9:20:06 PM

Moscow, May 15 - Russian President Vladimir Putin and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice agreed Tuesday to improve bilateral ties though differences still remain after their talks.

Putin and Rice agreed to 'tone down rhetoric' in public debate and focus on real issues, including non-proliferation, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who also took part in the occasion, was quoted as saying.

However, the disputes between the Cold War rivals, such as US plans to deploy an anti-missile system in central Europe, seemed to remain unresolved during the meeting at the presidential residence in Novo-Ogaryovo outside Moscow.

'President Putin confirmed Russia's position on missile defence,' Lavrov said after the meeting.

Rice arrived in Moscow Monday for a two-day visit, aimed at mending bilateral ties damaged by arrays of disputes.

She said on Monday aboard the plane heading to Moscow that Russian-US relations are going through a difficult period. However, she rejected the suggestion of a 'new Cold War.'

'I know people talk about and throw around terms like new Cold War. As somebody who came out of that period as a specialist in it I think the parallels...frankly, have no basis whatsoever,' the top US diplomat told reporters.

'It's not an easy time for the relationship. It's not. But it's also not a time in which I think any sort of cataclysmic things are happening,' she added.

Moscow maintains that the missile-defence plan is endangering its own security and the regional situation as well. The US denies this, saying that it is designed to fend off threats from nations such as Iran.

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