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Putin, Bush fail to bridge difference on missile shield
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08:54, April 07, 2008

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Russia's outgoing President Vladimir Putin and his United States counterpart George W. Bush failed to reach an agreement here Sunday on a U.S.-proposed missile defense plan in Central Europe.

The two heads of states, however, agreed to institute a framework guideline for bilateral ties.

Bush promised to share technology and information to improve transparency of the missile shield that consists of 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar station in the Czech Republic.

During the talks held in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia "appreciates the confidence-building measures" proposed by Washington on the plans, Bush told a press conference after the last meeting between Putin and Bush in the capacity of presidents.

Putin, however, urged Washington to do more and focused on "how those confidence-building and transparency measures will be implemented," noting he was glad that Russia's concerns were "heard" by the United States in the talks.

Moscow has repeatedly expressed objections to the proposed missile shield, saying it will pose threat to its national security. Washington, however, says it was aimed at potential missile threat from the Middle East states such as Iran instead of Russia.

The United States "will convince the experts that it's not against Russia," Bush said, adding that the two states will work "as partners" in building a global missile shield to cope with potential threat.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) and U.S. President George W. Bush shake hands after a news conference at the Bocharov Ruchey presidential summer residence at the Black Sea in Sochi April 6, 2008.

Bush also met Russia's President-elect Dmitry Medvedev in Sochi following his meeting with Putin on Sunday.

Commenting on his meeting with Medvedev, Bush said it was "impressive" and he's "looking forward to work with him."

Putin is to leave office in May when Medvedev's inauguration takes place. Bush is also to step down in coming months after the election.


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