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Russia's army chief criticizes U.S. missile defense proposals

RIA Novosti

17/10/2007 17:48 SOLNECHNOGORSK (Moscow Region), October 17 (RIA Novosti) - The U.S. has made no new proposals to try and resolve a dispute with Russia over Washington's plans to place elements of its missile shield in Europe, Russia's chief of the General Staff said Wednesday.

During recent missile talks in Moscow, the U.S. delegation proposed allowing Russian experts access to inspect its planned missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic, and to use radars at Gabala and Armavir in addition to its European missile shield.

The radars at Gabala, in Azerbaijan, and Armavir, south Russia, were proposed by Moscow as an alternative to the deployment of a U.S. missile shield in Central Europe.

"As chief of the General Staff and an expert I see nothing new in these proposals," said Army General Yury Baluyevsky, adding that Russia would certainly reject the second proposal but would continue working with U.S. experts on the assessment of missile threats.

Washington is planning to build a missile interceptor base in Poland and a radar in the

Czech Republic to stop "rogue states" such as Iran and North Korea from launching surprise missile attacks.

Russia earlier blasted the U.S. plans as a national security threat and a destabilizing factor for Europe.

Baluyevsky reiterated that Iran was unlikely to develop ballistic missiles in the mid-term despite U.S. assurances to the contrary.

"We do not see how this could be done in the near future or in the mid-term, and whether [Iran] could develop [ballistic missiles] at all," the general said.

Overall, Baluyevsky said the recent talks in Moscow failed to produce any substantial results that could have shifted the deadlock in the missile defense dispute.

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