June 7th, 2007
12:33 PM ET
7 years ago

Putin offers proposal to end missile defense dispute

Bush and Putin met at the G8 summit Thursday.

ROSTOCK, Germany (CNN) - At a much-anticipated one-on-one meeting with President Bush at the G-8 Summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to "de-escalate the tensions" between the two nations by offering a concrete proposal to end their heated standoff over U.S. plans to build a missile defense system in Eastern Europe, according to White House National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley.

"We think it was a positive development," Hadley said after the meeting.

Hadley told reporters Putin proposed the radar for the U.S. missile defense system be based in Azerbaijan, a former Soviet Republic located between Eastern Europe and Western Asia and to the south of Russia. Azerbaijan as an old Soviet-built radar system that is still operational and Putin would like to use this radar to detect threats and then send signals to U.S. interceptor missiles based elsewhere.

This would be an alternative to the U.S. proposal to base the radar in the Czech Republic, which Putin has balked at strongly, threatening on the eve of the summit to aim nuclear weapons at Europe if the U.S. did not drop the proposal.

Hadley said Mr. Bush called the Putin idea an "interesting proposal" that "needs to be studied by military in the weeks ahead. The two nations are now planning to start a "working group," according to Hadley, that would include cabinet secretaries and ministers from each side to work through the proposals.

"He has some ideas, we have some ideas," Hadley told reporters in a conference call. "The President's idea was, 'let's get some experts together in a very transparent way ... let's put all the options on the table."

The U.S. has repeatedly insisted that the missile defense shield would be used to defend Europe and potentially Russia against attacks from Iran and other rogue nations. But Putin has expressed deep concerns that the defensive missiles, which would be stored in Poland, could also be used as offensive weapons against Russia.

After Thursday's meeting, Hadley said Putin seemed to put some stock in U.S. arguments that the defense shield could actually help protect Russia against a rogue nation by indicating "he recognized there was a potential threat" against Moscow too.

 - CNN White House Correspondent Ed Henry

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soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Joanne, Las

    I am disgusted every time I even see Bush's face. I want to see him impeached for being so ridiculously inept at everything he does!

    June 7, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  2. alex chapman ville platte,la.

    Darn the bad luck, Bush almost had two hot wars & one cold war going on at the same time.

    June 7, 2007 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  3. alex chapman ville platte,la.

    Yep, Europe has had peace since 1945 & in five minutes W. almost screwed that up.
    What talent!

    June 7, 2007 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  4. Mike Van Heyde, Cleveland, OH

    Alex, Europe had a genocidal war as recently as the mid 90's...Bosnia is in Europe.

    I think this shows what a great politician and foreign diplomat that Bush is that we can propose something as provocative as a missile shield, explain why we want it, and come to an agreement with Russia.

    June 7, 2007 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  5. Pete, Washington, DC

    There is no logical explanation for this missile shield except to expand the american empire. If we want to be safe, which seems like the only excuse for this project, we need to change our foreign policy. No more money to Israel (this comment alone might prevent this post from appearing), stop backing opressive regimes (Saudi Arabia, etc.), and maintain a non-interventionist foreign policy – unless we are forced to defend our liberty (this does not include nation building and going on the offense against 'terror').

    June 7, 2007 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  6. alex ville platte,la.

    Mike, I was referring to wars between nations in Europe,not civil wars. If you think Bush's diplomatic style is productive then you probably think he was forced to invade & occupy Iraq because they were on the verge of handing nukes to el quida to be used against America. By the way, there will not be any SDI system in Eastern Europe because Putin offered old Soviet radar systems to "protect" Europe from Iran. Now who do you think European's credit for defusing this latest Bush scew up?

    June 7, 2007 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  7. Tricia M Charlottetown, PEI Candaa

    Personally, I get ill at the site of Bush.

    And I see all his extra curricular activities ie: missile defense, meeting with Pope, working together (grin)to save immigration bill, veto, veto, veto, as nothing but a smoke and mirrors game. His last ditch effort to go out looking like he's actually done something productive! Yeah Right! Smicker.

    The only way to bring peace to this world is to bring new blood and a New President to the Oval Office. Personally, I feel 2008 will be too late. The world needs a Saviour Now.
    Abra Cadabra !

    June 11, 2007 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |