US official: Russians intend to test Obama on arms

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The State Department's top arms control official says he believes that the Russian government intends to "test the mettle" of the Obama administration on missile defense and other issues.

John Rood told reporters Wednesday he gained that impression during talks in Moscow on Monday on a range of arms control issues. The talks -- which reached no conclusion -- included efforts to negotiate a new nuclear arms treaty and the disputed U.S. plan to base missile defense systems in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Rood also said the Russians have become less flexible in recent talks on missile defense and other subjects, suggesting that the Kremlin may prefer to pursue those matters with the next U.S. administration.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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