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Russia had a strong case for joint use of Azeri radar - Putin aide

RIA Novosti

07/06/2007 23:53

HEILIGENDAMM (Germany), June 7 (RIA Novosti) - Russia believes the U.S. will agree to Vladimir Putin's proposal to use a radar rented by Russia in Azerbaijan as part of a joint missile defense effort, a key Putin aide said Thursday.

During a meeting with President George W. Bush at a Group of Eight summit in Germany, Russian President Vladimir Putin offered the United States the joint use of a radar installation in Azerbaijan in an apparent attempt to ease tensions sparked by Washington's missile shield plans.

A White House adviser called the Russian proposal a "bold" and "interesting" move, and promised to thoroughly study the initiative.

"It seemed that the [Russian] president was sufficiently convincing on all issues concerning this [alternative radar site] topic, and his arguments clearly aroused President George W. Bush's interest," Sergei Prikhodko told reporters at the G8 summit in northern Germany.

He said Russia is ready for a profound, far-reaching and close cooperation with American partners on the missile defense issue.

"We are sure that high-level contacts between political and military experts will be forthcoming to make this initiative a joint one," Prikhodko said.

"We will discuss the level of consultations with the U.S. in the near future," Putin's aide said. "I think, initially it will be deputy ministers, but later the negotiations could be joined by foreign and defense ministers."

Prikhodko also said Russia and the United States could exchange military technologies in the sphere of missile defense if the sides agree on the level and methods of future cooperation.

"We do not rule out this possibility," the Kremlin official said.

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