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Russia ready to continue U.S. missile shield talks - Lavrov

RIA Novosti

28/11/2007 09:32 (Adds Lavrov's quotes, details in paras 4-6)

MOSCOW, November 28 (RIA Novosti) - Russia is disappointed with Washington's written proposals on missile defense cooperation, but is ready to continue constructive talks on the issue, the foreign minister said on Wednesday.

Russia has fiercely opposed U.S. plans to deploy new missile defense bases in Poland and the Czech Republic, suggesting Washington use radars on Russian soil to counter possible attacks from "rogue" states. The two countries have held a series of talks on the issue.

"If the informal proposals in Moscow [during recent talks in "2+2" format] were a mere improvisation, then this improvisation failed. What we have received on paper is disappointing, but we do not rule out further dialogue with the Americans," Sergei Lavrov said on the way back from Tuesday's Mideast peace conference in the U.S.

Lavrov said Moscow considered missile defense as a key element of strategic stability.

"Understanding between the two leading world powers on this issue strengthens strategic stability, and, as a result, everyone benefits from it. But when strategic stability is harmed by violations of the strategic arms reductions treaty [START treaty], or by unilateral deployment of anti-ballistic missile systems, everyone starts feeling uncomfortable," the minister said.

"That is why, naturally, we will continue dialogue [on missile defense and related issues] with the United States" Lavrov reiterated.

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