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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ivanov Denies Discussions of Rocket Deal

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BUDAPEST — Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov on Wednesday dismissed as speculation reports that the United States was trying to woo Moscow around to the idea of a missile defense shield by offering to buy rockets from Russia.

Ivanov, speaking after talks with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, said the two men had mainly discussed preparations for the first summit between their countries' presidents, in the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, on June 16.

"I can officially tell you that no offer and no discussion of this [missile] issue has taken place," Ivanov said.

"The appearance of this well-known speculation of a proposal from the American side does not change our position on strategic stability, in particular the ABM Treaty," he told reporters in answer to a question.

"There was no discussion and no proposal and there cannot be, for they are completely separate issues that are in no way linked. … There can be no question of a trade-off," he added.

U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Powell did not bring any new proposals on missile defense.

"They talked about President Bush's upcoming meeting with President Putin in general terms. It is in that context that the secretary mentioned our strategic thinking and the whole idea of missile defense," Boucher told a briefing.

"Moscow attaches importance to this meeting," Ivanov said of what will be the two presidents' first face-to-face talks since Bush took office in January.

"We will actively work so that this meeting really will be a founding stage in our bilateral relations."