MOSCOW, June 10 (UPI) -- "A common language" on missile defense may be the best way for the United States and Russia to improve bilateral relations, a Russian lawmaker said Monday.
U.S. plans to set up a missile defense system in Eastern Europe have frustrated a Russian government concerned about the regional balance of power.
Alexei Pushkov, chairman of an international affairs committee in the Russian parliament, told state news agency RIA Novosti the missile defense issue could be an area of cooperation for both countries.
"Missile defense has become a key issue," he was quoted as saying. "If we find a common language here, we could speak of a beginning of new positive dynamics in U.S.-Russian relations."
The Russian government said it wants assurances any missile defense operations won't be targeted at its national interests. The U.S. government said a regional missile defense option is needed in Eastern Europe to contain emerging threats from Iran or North Korea.
RIA Novosti reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin may press the issue of missile defense with President Barack Obama during an upcoming G8 meeting in Northern Ireland.
Delegates from the G8 meet for their annual summit in Northern Ireland starting June 17.