Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Defence: Russia and U.S. could strike missile defence deal by early 2009

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Monday that the United States and Russia could strike a deal by early 2009 on a missile defence shield that Washington plans to base in Europe, AFP reports.

"I think the answer is yes," Gates told reporters when asked after meeting President Vladimir Putin and other Russian leaders whether he was confident a deal could happen before US President George W. Bush's term ends in January.

"The environment in our meetings was positive today. Whether that leads to a positive conclusion remains to be seen," Gates told a press briefing also attended by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Gates started off the 25-minute briefing with upbeat remarks.
"I frankly was surprised at the relatively positive tone of the meetings" with Putin and President-elect Dmitry Medvedev, he said.

Republished with permission FOCUS Information Agency