Official: U.S., Russia No Closer to Resolution on Missile Shield

Moscow and Washington are no closer to resolving their serious disagreements over missile defenses in Europe, arms control treaties and other major issues, a deputy Russian foreign minister said Monday.

Speaking hours after Russian officials met in Moscow with a U.S. delegation, Sergei Ryabkov told reporters the Russian side was satisfied with the current round of talks.

"On key moments we didn't succeed in bringing our approaches any closer," Ryabkov said. "But this wasn't unexpected."

The United States says its plans for missile shield installations in Poland and the Czech Republic would counter a potential threat from Iran. Russia claims the real aim is to weaken its nuclear deterrent.

Russia is already pressuring the incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama to scrap the missile defense plan, and has threatened to deploy missiles near the Polish border.

Monday's talks also dealt with efforts to negotiate a follow-up pact to the 1991 START nuclear arms agreement, which expires next year.

John Rood, the acting undersecretary of state for arms control and international security who headed the U.S. delegation, agreed the talks did not yield any breakthroughs, but he insisted they were useful for hearing Russian concerns.

It's important from our perspective that the US and Russia remain in detailed talks on these subjects," he told AP.