LONDON - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Thursday that the United States was ready to discuss different ideas on the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system in Europe, which Moscow strongly opposes.
As for the missile defense issue, this is one of the most complicated issues, Medvedev told a news briefing in London, a day after holding his first meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama.
We touched upon this issue and we agreed that our contacts and discussions on this issue would be continued, he said.
I got an impression that at least on this issue our (U.S.) partners do not hold a primitive position but are rather ready to discuss various ideas. And this is already crucial.
Under Obama's predecessor George W. Bush, relations between Moscow and Washington plunged to their lowest point since the Cold War. The missile shield was one of the main stumbling blocks.
Eyeing what it sees as a threat from Iran, Washington wants to deploy elements of a missile defense in Poland and the Czech Republic that could enable it to intercept enemy missiles. Moscow sees the plan as a threat to its national security.
Holding their first face-to-face meeting Wednesday, Medvedev and Obama agreed to start thawing relations by pursuing a deal to cut nuclear warheads.
Before that (meeting with Obama) we would usually hear something completely different, like: 'What's the difference?' ... 'We have already decided everything' ... and 'This issue is closed already', Medvedev said.
We now see a completely different approach to discussing this issue. And this suits me alright.