NATO: Little progress in missile talks

NATO: Little progress in missile talks

NATO: Little progress in missile talks

‘Talks with Russia on missile system are failing to progress,’ Rasmussen says. AFP photo

NATO and Russia have made little progress in talks to cooperate on a U.S.-led missile shield for Europe, and failing a deal may have to drop plans for a summit in May, NATO’s secretary general said Jan. 26.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen held out hope that the former Cold War foes will reach agreement before the 28-nation alliance holds its own summit in Chicago on May 20-21. “However, I also have to make it clear that we have not made much progress so far,” Rasmussen told a news conference at NATO headquarters.

“We have had a lot of talks. These talks will continue. Maybe we will not have a clarified situation until a few weeks before the summit,” Rasmussen said. “We still keep it as an option to have a NATO-Russia summit in Chicago, but if there’s no deal, probably there will be no summit.”

Call to France
Russia has also raised doubts about joining the summit, with the deputy foreign minister saying a decision would be taken after March 4 presidential elections. Rasmussen also called on France to continue its training operations in Afghanistan until a planned withdrawal, despite the killing of four French soldiers by a rogue Afghan soldier. President Nicolas Sarkozy last week suspended all French ground operations in Afghanistan after the incident. Meanwhile, Afghan President Hamid Karzai was expected to meet with President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris on Jan. 27 to sign a friendship treaty at a meeting to be dominated by French concerns over the security of its forces in the country.

Compiled from AFP and Reuters stories by the Daily News staff.