Putin urges Obama to scrap shield
- Putin urges Obama to scrap shield
Putin rejected the idea his leadership was rooted in Cold War ideology
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has urged the US to move relations forward by shelving plans for a missile defence shield in Europe.
His comments come ahead of a summit between US President Barack Obama and Russian counterpart Dimitry Medvedev.
They serve, correspondents say, as a clear sign that the powerful former president will have to be taken into account during the negotiations.
Mr Obama is preparing to visit Moscow between 6 and 8 July.
Reducing both countries' nuclear stockpiles, as well as Iran and North Korea, will be on the agenda when he meets Mr Medvedev.
Mr Obama said on Thursday that the US was developing a "very good relationship" with the Russian president.
[Russians] stand solidly on their own two feet and always look into the future
Q&A: Missile defence shield
But, says the BBC's Richard Galpin in Moscow, Mr Putin has persistently made it clear that it is he - not his successor - who takes all the key decisions.
Mr Putin said the US needed to change its policy on siting a missile defence shield in Europe and on expanding military blocs - a reference to Nato expansion into Eastern Europe.
"If we see [that] our American partners refrain from deploying new missile complexes, anti-missile defence systems, or for example review their approach to widening military-political blocs... this would be a big movement forward," Interfax news agency quoted Mr Putin as saying.
Russian officials earlier told the BBC that they were optimistic of a major step forward in negotiating further cuts to nuclear arsenals at the summit.
But, our correspondent says, Moscow's long-held objections to America's missile shield plans have always been a potential obstacle to an agreement on disarmament.
On Tuesday, Mr Obama urged Russia to end "old Cold War approaches" to ties - and described Mr Putin as having one foot in the past.
Mr Putin hit back. Russians, he said, "stand solidly on their own two feet and always look to the future".
US urges Russian break from past
Thursday, 2 July 2009 18:46 UK
President Obama: "Prime Minister Putin still has a lot of sway in Russia"
President Barack Obama has said Russia must understand that "old Cold War approaches" to relations with the US belong in the past.
The president said he would convey this to Vladimir Putin during talks in Moscow next week.
Mr Obama said the former Russian president - now prime minister -"still has sway" in Russia.
Earlier Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said he was hopeful of finding new ways to co-operate with the US.
In an interview with the Associated Press news agency, Mr Obama said Mr Putin was someone who has "one foot in the old ways of doing business and one foot in the new".
The president said the US was developing a "very good relationship" with Mr Medvedev, who succeeded Mr Putin last year.
The issue of reducing both countries' nuclear weapons will be high on the agenda during Mr Obama's visit, which begins on Monday.
The president said he was looking for progress on this, AP said.
Senior Russian and US officials held talks in May on a new treaty on cutting their stockpiles, paving the way for Mr Obama's trip.
The president told AP he did not regard Russia as an obstacle in dealing with North Korea and Iran. The US is trying to prevent both from possessing nuclear arms.
Mr Obama said there had been "good co-operation" from Russia in this regard, while warning that a nuclear-armed Iran might trigger an arms race in the Middle East.
Such a scenario would be a "recipe for potential disaster", he said.
Earlier, President Medvedev struck an upbeat tone on the forthcoming summit.
In a video on his website, he said the new US administration had demonstrated a willingness to build "effective, reliable and ultimately more modern relations".
"We are ready to play our part," he said.
He said the US and Russia were "united by the values of our civilisation, the values of respect for human life and human rights and freedoms".
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