Missile plan on Bush-Putin agenda

The Scotsman

Well-Known Member
Apr 1, 2008
South of the Haggis Munching Line
5th April 2008

US President George W Bush has arrived in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi for the last in a series of talks with President Vladimir Putin. The two are not expected to clinch agreement on a planned US missile defence system in Europe during this weekend's talks, the White House said.

Their meeting follows a Nato summit in Romania where Mr Putin warned against the bloc's eastward expansion. In a speech in Zagreb earlier, Mr Bush praised Croatia's democratic reform.

'Early discussions'

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino, who was travelling to Sochi on Air Force One with the US president, said "more work" would be required after this weekend's talks.

Russia has strongly criticised US proposals to site a missile defence system in Eastern Europe, which would see interceptor missiles based in Poland and a radar system in the Czech Republic. Nato countries agreed to back the US plans during the Romanian summit.

"No-one has said that everything would be finalised and everyone would be satisfied with all the preparations because we haven't even started to work on the technical aspects of the system," said Ms Perino.

"We're still in the early part of these discussions."

However, Ms Perino added that "the dialogue is headed in the right direction and that this meeting will be able to push that along even further".

The Sochi meeting will likely be the last between the two leaders before Mr Putin leaves office next month, though he is expected to serve as prime minister under President-elect Dmitry Medvedev.

'Old tyranny'

During his speech in Zagreb earlier on Saturday, Mr Bush paid tribute to what he called Croatia's transition from communist tyranny to maturing democracy.
He told the crowd Croatians should also be recognised for "helping the Afghan people defeat the terrorists and secure their future of liberty".

"There are many people who don't appear to understand why it takes so long to build a democracy," he said.

"You can tell them how hard it is to put in place a new and complex system of government for the first time.

"There are those who actually wonder if people were better off under their old tyranny. You can tell them that freedom is the only real path to prosperity and security and peace."

Mr Bush had flown to Croatia after a Nato summit in Romania and spent Friday in talks with its President, Stjepan Mesic.

Croatia and Albania have been invited to join Nato, though neighbouring Macedonia had its bid blocked because of an ongoing row with Greece. Macedonia is also the name of a region in Greece.

The BBC's Helen Fawkes in Zagreb said the transformation of Croatia sent out an important message to other countries in the Balkans. The former Soviet states of Georgia and Ukraine are seeking to become members of the security pact. And, while the two countries were not offered a Membership Action Plan earlier this week, Nato did leave open the option of taking in the two countries.



Two men looking for a legacy :rolleyes:

Expansion of NATO eastward is going to put the Russians on edge so invitations to Ukraine to join will be a real bone of contention - what's in it for NATO if the inclusion of Ukraine into NATO goes ahead?

Moscow has said the alliance's promise of eventual membership to its neighbours is "a huge strategic mistake".

....maybe, I have a feeling that Bush and NATO are having a last stab at trying to compete with a French - German axis that will ultimately lean in the Russian direction. The siting of the US defensive weapons systems is also slightly "transparent" but nonetheless an interesting strategic move in that it gives the US call to keep its European Bases indeed to expand them. Be interesting to see how this pans out.
I would love 4 our government to quit worrying about russia who could become an ally with some work and put some of these missile shield posts in japan, south korea, australia and other areas of the south pacific.

If we didn't have an idiot for president russia and europe wouldn't be hard to deal with.

Nato's goals need to be revised and try and bring russia into the alliance.