Russian, U.S. Security Advisers Acknowledge Disagreements

Thursday, February 22nd 2007, 6:01 am
By: News On 6

MOSCOW (AP) _ The Russian and U.S. national security advisers on Thursday acknowledged disagreements amid increasingly tense relations, but pledged to work closely together to overcome them.

The meeting came as Washington and Moscow traded heated criticism over issues including U.S. plans to place elements of a missile defense in former Soviet satellites in Europe.

Russian Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov told reporters ``there are disagreements, there are misunderstandings, including on security matters.''

``That is why it is very important that the dialogue that we have continues to develop at all levels and allows us to deal with those issues so that they don't damage bilateral relations,'' Ivanov said.

President Bush's national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, said the two countries should continue to seek common ground when they disagree.

``Where we have disagreements we've been able to talk candidly about them and work together constructively,'' said Hadley, who is visiting several European capitals this week amid a flurry of international diplomacy over Iran's nuclear program, Mideast unrest and other issues.

Their comments came in a brief period at the beginning of their meeting before reporters were herded away.

Ties between the Cold War superpowers are a low point, with an assertive Russia lambasting U.S. conduct and the United States accusing the Kremlin of backtracking on democracy and using energy as a political weapon.

At a security conference in Munich, Germany this month, President Vladimir Putin said the United States ``has overstepped its national borders in every way'' and is fostering a global arms race.

On Wednesday, a top State Department official in Washington called Putin's speech ``extraordinarily unwise.''

Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns praised Russian cooperation with the U.S. on counterterrorism and intelligence sharing and described Moscow as one of the ``closest partners'' of the United States in efforts to curb the nuclear proliferation.

But he also noted what he described as its overbearing attitudes toward some of its neighbors and listed other issues on which the two countries are at odds _ including the missile defense plans.