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Russia expects U.S. missile defense proposal in writing soon

RIA Novosti

31/10/2007 15:20 MOSCOW, October 31 (RIA Novosti) - Russia expects the United States to present its missile defense proposals in writing in the near future, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Wednesday.

"We expect the U.S. side to prepare and submit to us its concrete proposals for cooperation in the missile defense realm in documentary form," Mikhail Kamynin said.

He said Russia's foreign and defense ministers had held talks on October 12 with their U.S. counterparts in Moscow, at which the U.S. side made 'counter proposals' in a bid to allay Russia's concerns over Washington's missile shield plans in Europe, including inviting Russian experts to inspect mooted missile defense sites.

"At the time, we asked the U.S. side to present those ideas in the form of concrete proposals so that they could be analyzed and developed by experts. However, to date, that has not been done," Kamynin said.

He said Moscow regrets the fact that Washington has effectively chosen to ignore alternatives proposed by Russia to U.S. missile defense plans for central Europe. Russia has offered the U.S. use of radar stations at Gabala in Azerbaijan, and Armavir in south Russia, as alternatives.

"Far from suspending negotiations with the Czech Republic and Poland, [the U.S.] is taking additional steps to accelerate them. The impression is that the United States is attempting to make the implementation of its plans irreversible," he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier warned that if Washington ignores Russia's concerns and deploys interceptor missiles 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 recent talks with the U.S. had showed that 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.

The U.S. announced its central European 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.

Speaking at a news conference following the October 26 Russia-EU summit in Portugal, President Putin said the plans were reminiscent of the political crisis caused by the Soviet Union's nuclear missile bases in Cuba in 1962.

The chief of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff dismissed the latest U.S. proposals as nothing new. General Yury Baluyevsky said that on the whole, the recent talks in Moscow had failed to produce any substantial results with the potential to break the current deadlock.

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