(Reuters) - President George W. Bush said on Wednesday that Russia did not pose a threat to Europe despite a vow to target the continent if the U.S. deploys a missile shield in central Europe.
The United States has been at loggerheads with Russia over a host of issues. Here are some details of the recent spats:
* MISSILE SHIELD: Speaking in Prague just before the G8 summit, Bush sought to calm Russian fears and said Putin had nothing to fear from the shield, calling it a “purely defensive” measure.
-- Russia recently test-fired a new intercontinental ballistic missile that officials said could pierce any missile defence system, including the planned U.S. shield in Europe.
-- Putin has said if Washington pushes ahead with its plans to deploy the missile system, Russia will revert to targeting its missiles on Europe as it did during the Cold War.
-- Moscow opposed the scheme to base 10 missile interceptors in Poland and radar in the Czech Republic from 2012 to head off what Washington sees as a threat from Iran and North Korea.
* CFE PACT: Russia has requested an emergency conference to discuss the arms control pact after accusing NATO nations of ignoring the deal negotiated just after the Cold War ended.
-- Last month Putin froze Moscow’s commitments under the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty and said Russia could quit altogether if the Russia-NATO council failed to find a solution suitable to Moscow.
-- The CFE pact, originally signed in 1990 and updated in 1999, limits the number of battle tanks, heavy artillery, combat aircraft and attack helicopters deployed and stored between the Atlantic and Russia’s Ural mountains.
-- But after the Soviet Union collapsed and most of its Warsaw Pact allies became NATO members, the CFE treaty -- still described by officials as a cornerstone of security in Europe -- became a largely symbolic document.
-- The Western partners have refused to ratify the CFE until Russia pulled out its bases from Georgia and Moldova, as it had promised when the treaty was reviewed in Istanbul in 1999.
* KOSOVO: Serbia, backed by Russia, opposes a plan proposed by U.N. mediator Martti Ahtisaari offering the Albanian majority province independence under international supervision.
-- Western powers have backed a U.N. resolution that would grant Kosovo effective independence.
Russia said on Wednesday it has “firm solidarity” with Serbia on Kosovo, in a sign that Moscow is unwilling to change its stance on the Balkan province ahead of the G8 summit.
* HUMAN RIGHTS: The United States scolded Russia last month over a police crackdown on anti-Kremlin protests, as authorities detained several hundred protesters in Moscow, including former world chess champion Garry Kasparov. The United States called the response heavy-handed and said it raised new questions about Moscow’s commitment to democracy.
* IRAN: The United States and Russia have appeared more united on the nuclear standoff with Iran. In a joint statement, the G8 ministers said they regretted that Iran, suspected by western nations of wanting to build a nuclear bomb, was expanding its uranium enrichment activities.
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