The United States and Russia have agreed to tone down increasingly heated diplomatic rhetoric, but failed to make visible progress in bridging two major security disputes in high-level talks.
The agreement was reached on Tuesday in a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice outside Moscow.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov confirmed the agreement. But he also said Mr. Putin restated Russia's opposition to a U.S.-backed plan granting supervised independence to Serbia's Kosovo province. No progress in the stand-off was reported by either side.
The meeting also failed to produce any public softening of Moscow's opposition to the planned U.S. deployment of missile interceptors in Europe.
Speaking after the talks, Secretary Rice said that the United States will not permit Russia's opposition to the missile shield to block U.S. security interests.
US. officials say the missile deployment in Poland and the Czech Republic is aimed at curbing missile threats from Iran. Moscow contends U.S. missiles in central Europe would destabilize the region and lead to an arms race.
Ahead of her arrival in Moscow Monday, Secretary Rice acknowledged rising bilateral tensions. She said Washington and Moscow are going through a difficult time, but that tensions fall far short of hostilities during the height of the Cold War.
She also noted U.S.-Russian cooperation on such major issues as Iran and North Korea.