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Russia says U.S. has yet to formally present missile proposals

RIA Novosti

19/10/2007 15:29

BELGOROD, October 19 (RIA Novosti) - The United States has not as yet formally presented its missile defense proposals in writing to Russia, the Russian foreign minister said on Friday.

Russia's foreign and defense ministers held talks last Friday with their U.S. counterparts in Moscow, at which the U.S. side offered 'return proposals' in a bid to allay Russia's concerns over Washington's missiles shield plans in Europe, including inviting Russian experts to inspect mooted missile defense sites.

"The proposals are quite interesting... but we would like these proposals to be submitted officially," Sergei Lavrov said.

He said Russia has so far only received the offers verbally, but wants them formally presented in writing for in-depth study.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised question-and-answer session yesterday, warned that if Washington ignores Russia's concerns and deploy missile interceptors in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic, Moscow could be forced to adopt countermeasures. First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov raised the possibility earlier in the year of deploying missiles in Kaliningrad, the country's Baltic exclave, which borders on Poland.

However, Putin said that the recent talks with the U.S. showed Washington is trying to reach a compromise on the issue.

"Our recent contacts with American colleagues indicate that they are genuinely considering Russian proposals and looking for ways to resolve the issue," he said.

Russia has proposed radar stations at Gabala in Azerbaijan, and Armavir in south Russia, as alternatives to the U.S. plans.

The U.S. announced the missile defense plans earlier this year, claiming the facilities were needed to counter possible threats from so-called rogue states such as Iran and North Korea. Moscow considers the plans a threat to national security.

The chief of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff dismissed on Wednesday the latest U.S. proposals as nothing new. Gen. Yury Baluyevsky said that on the whole, the recent talks in Moscow failed to produce any substantial results that could break the countries' deadlock on the dispute.

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