MOSCOW - Beginning a two-day visit to Moscow on Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice downplayed speculation of a return to a U.S.-Russia Cold War.
Before meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Security Council chief Igor Ivanov, Rice told reporters relations between the two countries were difficult but couldn't be described in the same light as the old standoff, Itar-Tass reported.
"I don't throw around terms like 'new Cold War'," Rice said. "It is a big, complicated relationship but it is not one that is anything like the implacable hostility" that strained ties in the past.
The news agency said during her closed-door meeting with Putin, he reiterated Russia's opposition to U.S. plans to build missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic.
The Cold War reference emerged in February, when Putin criticized the missile plan in a speech in Germany.
In turn, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the speech reminded him of Cold War rhetoric and cautioned against sliding back into that era, the Moscow Times reported.
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