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U.S. missile defense plans should be transparent - Ivanov

RIA Novosti

28/08/2006 10:29 FAIRBANKS (U.S.), August 28 (RIA Novosti) - U.S. plans to deploy missile defense systems in eastern Europe should be transparent, Russia's defense minister said.

The United States has ambitious plans to deploy a network of anti-missile systems across the world and there has been speculation that they would be based in at least two former communist-bloc countries.

"As far as the global strategic missile defense system is concerned, we approach this issue quite cautiously and believe that such systems should be deployed with maximum transparency so as not to provoke other countries into developing weapons that could penetrate this defense," Sergei Ivanov told at a news conference after talks with his U.S. counterpart, Donald Rumsfeld.

Ivanov, who is also deputy prime minister, and Rumsfeld met in Fairbanks on Sunday to discuss bilateral defense cooperation and urgent international issues.

Ivanov also said Russia had some doubts about U.S. plans to use intercontinental ballistic missiles with conventional warheads in preventive strikes against terrorists and was not ready to join them.

"I am not prepared to say that Russia has agreed to join this initiative," he said, adding that Russian experts would maintain close contacts with their U.S. counterparts to study the issue.

He said that theoretically long-range cruise missiles as well as medium-range ballistic missiles could be used against terrorists but neither Russia nor the U.S. could deploy the latter under the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

Ivanov also said Moscow and Washington were considering signing agreements on cooperation in the sphere of defense technologies and information exchange in space research.

"There are some disagreements, but we know how to approach the signing of this document [on defense cooperation]," the Russian minister said.

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