From the AP: A new round of Russian-U.S. arms control talks began Monday, and Russian military experts predicted they will not be easy, despite President Barack Obama’s decision to scrap plans for an Eastern Europe-based missile shield that Moscow opposed . . .

“Negotiations aren’t going easily,” said retired Col. Gen. Viktor Yesin, the former chief of staff for the Russian military’s Strategic Missile Forces.

He told the news conference that Moscow wants an end to intrusive U.S. inspections at the main Russian missile factory in Votkinsk, 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) east of Moscow, while the U.S. wanted to continue them.

“There are still many obstacles negotiators have to deal with,” Yesin said.

The latest round of talks on a successor to START were expected to continue until Oct. 2, U.S. officials said . . .

The latest call for pooling efforts in missile defense came from NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. On Friday, he urged the U.S., Russia and NATO to consider linking their missile defense systems against potential new nuclear threats from Asia and the Middle East.

The Russian Foreign Ministry welcomed Rasmussen’s remarks, but said in a statement Monday that prospects for Russian-NATO cooperation on missile defense will depend on the U.S. administration’s new approach to missile defense in Europe. (photo: Reuters)