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Moscow says it has now received the proposals in writing it asked for from the Americans, aimed at allaying its suspicions that plans to base parts of a missile shield in Europe, allegedly to counter a potential Iranian threat, are really aimed at Russian defence installations.
George W Bush too, in his last few months as American president, would no doubt prefer to leave relations with Russia on an even keel.
That would be preferable to being remembered as the US president who left office with tensions with the old Cold War foe on the rise, and a major arms control treaty (the START arms pact, due to expire next year) left untidily unresolved, with no consensus on what should replace it.