( AP ) - Russia's foreign minister sharply criticized U.S. proposals for cooperation on missile defense in Europe after a meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in remarks broadcast Tuesday on state-run cable channel Vesti-24, said that formal proposals submitted last week represent "a significant rollback from what American representatives said" when he met with Rice in early October.
Deep disagreements remain despite several rounds of talks aimed to ease the dispute between the Cold War foes over U.S. plans to deploy missile defense installations in Poland and the Czech Republic.
Speaking in Washington, Lavrov suggested the United States is determined to implement its own plans and merely wants Russian help, rather than real cooperation in defining and opposing threats.
"If by joint work they mean pursuing unilateral plans to install missile defense facilities in Eastern Europe, and inviting us only to help them and provide information we have, that's not what we have in mind when we propose ... together conducting analyses to determine threats and together discussing measures to neutralize them," he said.
The United States says the system would counter a potential Iranian threat, but Moscow says it believes the real aim is to weaken Russia's nuclear deterrent.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered an alternative involving joint use of a Russian-operated radar station in Azerbaijan, but has cited the U.S. plans as a factor in his decision to suspend Moscow's participation in the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty, which limits regional military deployments.
The Bush administration welcomed Putin's offer but pushed ahead with its plans for Eastern Europe while continuing talks with Russia on missile defense cooperation.