The US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia, Daniel Fried, informed during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, that although Washington was committed to the system, which will have components in Poland and the Czech Republic, an alternative proposal from the Russian President Vladimir Putin was worth pursuing, Reuters reports.
"We find President Putin's proposal intriguing and very interesting," Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried noted. He stated that Washington had formally asked Moscow to hold discussions to explore these details in depth.
Fried stated "the point is (that with Putin's proposal) the Russians have acknowledged that there may be a need for a certain system and that Iran or that region is a source for potential problems."
He emphasized that the focus should be on "not just the one radar, but that it should be considered as being part of a system, combining these issues to a way in which will enhance everyone's security."
He stated that the United States has been puzzled and concerned by the recent Russian actions and statements -- including the opposition to missile defence and to a supervised independence plan for Kosovo. "We are experiencing a complex period in our relations."
He lamented a "steady deterioration of democratic practices" within Russia, but stressed the need to avoid a "rhetorical race to the bottom." He said there were many areas of cooperation, including North Korea, Iran and counterterrorism.