Page last updated at 04:33 GMT, Friday, 28 March 2008

US hails progress in Russia talks

Anti-ballistic missile interceptor is launched from its mobile platform  in California 2004
The US wants a missile system based in Europe that can counter threats

US diplomats say they have made progress in intensive talks over future co-operation with Russia, but have not resolved the US defence shield dispute.

They said there was progress on issues such as combating terrorism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

But they said Russia's objections to US plans for missile defence bases in eastern Europe remained.

The talks precede a meeting between presidents George W Bush and Vladimir Putin in Russia next week.

The talks between diplomats from both sides in Washington were aimed at agreeing a joint text in time for that meeting.

Access offered

The BBC's Jonathan Beale says progress on broader co-operation may be a breakthrough, but an agreement on missile defence still seems elusive.

US missile defence graphic

The US says the system is needed to counter a potential threat from rogue states like Iran, but Moscow fears it could be used against Russia.

A senior US diplomat said that while Russia disagreed with US intentions, they have been prepared to talk about transparency and confidence building measures.

The US has offered to give Russian officials access to the sites planned in the Czech Republic and Poland.

Speaking earlier in Moscow, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the best way to assuage Russia's concerns would be to abandon the plans.

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