Lavrov Says U.S. Offer A 'Rollback'

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov sharply criticized U.S. proposals for cooperation on missile defense in Europe after a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, suggesting in remarks broadcast Tuesday that Washington had withdrawn offers he discussed with Rice last month.

Deep disagreements remain despite several rounds of talks aimed at easing the dispute between the Cold War foes over U.S. plans to deploy missile-defense installations in Poland and the Czech Republic, which has contributed to severe strains in ties between Moscow and Washington.

Lavrov said formal proposals that the United States submitted last week represented "a significant rollback from what American representatives said" when he met with Rice and the two nations' defense chiefs in Moscow in early October.

Speaking in Washington in remarks broadcast on state-run cable channel Vesti-24, Lavrov suggested that the United States was determined to implement its own plans and merely wanted Russian help, rather than real cooperation in defining and opposing threats.

"If by joint work they mean pursuing unilateral plans to install missile defense facilities in Eastern Europe and inviting us only to help them and provide the information we have, that's not what we have in mind when we propose ... conducting analyses to determine threats together and discussing measures to neutralize them together," he said.