US and Russian Top Officials to Hold "2+2" Meetings

5 de may de 2007

<body><div id="article"><tr><td height="28" valign="middle" width="184"></td><td valign="middle" width="185"></td></tr><h1>US and Russian Top Officials to Hold "2+2" Meetings</h1><p>May 5 (EIRNS)--US Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried announced on Friday that the U.S. has agreed to a series of meetings between their respective foreign and defense ministers, to discuss bilateral issues. US plans for missile defense systems in Poland and Czechoslovakia will be a central focus.. "We have agreed to a Russian suggestion that the secretaries of defense and state meet with their Russian counterparts, and do so in a so-called 2+2 format," Fried told reporters, according to AFP.</p><p>The Russians made the suggestion last month during a visit by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to Moscow. Russian officials have been increasingly vocal in their criticisms of US policy in general and the missile defense plan, in particular, in recent weeks.</p><p>Russian miltary chief Gen. Yury Baluyevsky charged on Thursday that the missile defense plan was "the beginning of a new round of an uncontrollable arms race in Europe."</p><p>Fried, who accompanied Gates to Moscow, said the Russian concerns were based on "a misunderstanding of the limitations and capability" of the proposed sites and on fears of how they could be expanded in the future.</p><p>Fried said that an exact date for the first meeting has not been set yet but that the meeting will probably take place in September.</p></div></body>