Putin to reply to Obama's letter

Moscow, May 16 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russian President Vladimir Putin will take up the issues of missile defence and cooperation between the US and Russian security and intelligence services in a written reply to US President Barack Obama's recent message to him, a presidential aide said.

Putin's letter is a response to a message from Obama which US National Security Advisor Tom Donilon brought to Moscow a month ago.

Asked whether this week's spy row could affect the text of Putin's letter, Putin's foreign policy aide Yury Ushakov said "the message will be couched in a constructive spirit".

He said Russia and the US are planning to hold a meeting between the US Central Intelligence Agency's director and Russian security services officials.

"The FBI head recently visited Moscow and there are plans for contacts with the CIA director," Ushakov said.

"In other words, there is clear signal from above that special services should work constructively, intensively. What is important, work not against each other but with each other."

Russian National Security Council chief Nikolai Patrushev said earlier he will hand over a letter from Putin to Obama during his upcoming visit to the US.

Patrushev did not reveal when the visit would take place, saying only that "the visit will go ahead when there is a letter (from Putin)".

Obama's message has not been made public, but Ushakov said it contained a number of proposals to deepen bilateral dialogue and cooperation, and that Moscow will study them in depth.

US National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden issued a statement saying Donilon had held discussions with Putin, Patrushev, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ushakov "on the full range of bilateral and global issues in preparation for the meeting between Obama and Putin on the margins of the G8 Summit and a US-Russia bilateral summit in early September".

"The discussions were comprehensive and constructive," Hayden said.

--IANS/RIA Novosti

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