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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bush Says Russia Not Enemy But Could Be Threat

WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush said Tuesday that his administration planned to make it clear to President Vladimir Putin that it did not see Russia as an enemy, although it may be a threat.

In an interview with reporters from regional newspapers, Bush explained his theories about Russia in relation to missile defense.

"Missile defense is the ... beginning of focusing resources on the true threats facing America," Bush said in the interview, a transcript of which was released by the White House.

"Russia is not an enemy. They may be a threat, if they decide to be, but they're not the enemy," he said. "And it's going to be very important for my administration to make that very clear to Mr. Putin."

Bush and Putin are at odds over Bush's plans to build a missile defense shield. Putin is a strong supporter of the Cold War-era Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which Bush has vowed to scrap if necessary to build the shield.

Bush has said the United States needs to create a national missile defense umbrella to protect its territory from a surprise attack by "rogue states" such as Iran and North Korea.

"Anybody with a nuclear weapon is a threat," Bush said. "But the true threats to stability and peace are these nations that are not very transparent ... that don't let people in to take a look and see what they're up to."

The United States urged Russia this week not to provide Iran with advanced conventional weapons or sensitive military technologies when it resumes its arm sales to Iran. Putin has told the United States he would go ahead selling arms to Iran and to complete construction there of a nuclear power plant.

The United States has complained repeatedly to Russia about the transfer of missile and nuclear technology to Iran.