Bilateral talks take in Iran, Kyrgyzstan and missile defence

Bilateral talks between the US and Russian president ahead of the signing were expected to cover possible sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme, unrest in the Central Asian state of Kyrgyzstan and US anti-missile defence, according to White House sources.

The US is seeking an agreement for sanctions against Iran, saying that its nuclear programme is aimed at developing weapons. Iran says it is purely to produce electricity. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Iran had not reacted seriously to proposals to deal with the problem of its nuclear programme and suggested the United Nations could discuss steps to take and new sanctions could not be ruled out.

Kyrgyzstan is the centre of turmoil following moves by the opposition to seize power on Wednesday. The country provides the US with a strategic base for operations in Afghanistan.

US plans for missile defence are still a sensitive issue with Moscow even after President Obama’s decision last year not to proceed with plans for an anti-missile shield in the Czech Republic and Poland. President Obama said missile defence should not affect the strategic balance between the US and Russia. Moscow has said it should be allowed to opt out of the new nuclear arms reduction agreement if the US significantly expands its missile defence network.

Author: Chris Johnstone