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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kremlin: No Deal on NMD Soon

The Kremlin has ruled out the possibility of reaching a substantive agreement with the United States on missile defense before a planned November summit between President George W. Bush and President Vladimir Putin, saying it would take a year or more to settle the issue.

Russia views Putin's scheduled visit to Bush's ranch in Texas as an "intermediate stage" that would simply create a framework for actual negotiations on missile defense and strategic arms cuts that would probably last until at least September 2002, according to Oleg Chernov, deputy secretary of Putin's Security Council and point man on missile defense.

Bush and Putin first agreed to link discussions on offensive and defensive weapons at a July meeting, but the subsequent talks haven't yielded as much progress as U.S. officials expected.

Chernov said there was no chance of working out a mutually agreeable deal by November that would free the United States from the restrictions of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, as Bush hopes.

"It's impossible," Chernov said in an interview Wednesday at Security Council headquarters. "Even if today, now, we were discussing this [substantively], it's a complex issue." Instead, he suggested, the United States could proceed with only the limited testing and development allowed under the treaty for another year while the two sides talk. "We only propose to postpone it, at least not to make hasty decisions."

The Putin aide's comments left the Bush team taken aback. "I'd be surprised if they really thought we'd sit still for a year," a senior administration official said by telephone from Washington. The United States, he added, would not agree to restrict testing to the stationary anti-missile facilities allowed under the treaty, as Russia suggested. "They'd love that. But that isn't going to happen."

A parade of senior U.S. officials made the pilgrimage to Moscow this summer, and two more high-level meetings are scheduled for next week. After that, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov will meet in Washington on Sept. 19, and U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov will get together the next week.