Obama offers Moscow missile defence deal: report

Obama offers Moscow missile defence deal: report
PTI
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First Published: Tue, Mar 03 2009. 01 46 PM IST
Updated: Tue, Mar 03 2009. 01 46 PM IST
New York: US President Barack Obama in a secret letter to his Russian counterpart Dmitri Medvedev has offered to halt deploying its missile defence system in Eastern Europe, if Moscow desists from helping Iran with developing nuclear weapons, a media report said on Tuesday.
The letter to Russian President Medvedev was hand-delivered in Moscow by top administration officials three weeks ago, the New York Times reported.
It said the United States would not proceed with the interceptor system, which has been vehemently opposed by Russia since it was proposed by the Bush administration, if Iran halted any efforts to build nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles, the paper said.
The officials were quoted as saying while it did not offer a direct quid pro quo, the letter was intended to give Moscow incentive to join the US in a common front against Iran.
Russia’s military, diplomatic and commercial ties to Tehran give it some influence there, but it has often resisted Washington’s hard line against Iran.
“It’s almost saying to them, put up or shut up,” a senior administration official was quoted as saying. “It’s not that the Russians get to say, ‘We’ll try and therefore you have to suspend.´ It says the threat has to go away.”
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First Published: Tue, Mar 03 2009. 01 46 PM IST