Putin Sets A Positive Tone As Talks Begin On Missile Defense System

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin says his government and the United States can probably reach agreement on a missile defense system the U.S. wants to place in Europe.

Putin, during a meeting in Moscow Monday with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, said a letter he received from President Bush is “a very serious document” that could result in agreement on some of the issues involving the system.

Russia’s president-elect Dmitry Medvedev, who also met with Rice and Gates, said there are still questions about the U.S. plans but added that his country is “determined to go ahead” with the negotiations, which begin Tuesday.

Rice says the U.S. and Russia have “a firm foundation for cooperation” on missile defense. The U.S. sees the system as a way defend against missile attacks from nations such as Iran and North Korea.