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Moscow receives updated U.S. missile shield proposals

RIA Novosti

07/11/2008 14:30 MOSCOW, November 7 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow has received new U.S. proposals aimed at easing Russia's concerns over a planned European missile shield and replacing a strategic arms reduction treaty, a Foreign Ministry official said on Friday.

U.S. Under Secretary of State John Rood said on November 6 that the United States had made a new offer to Moscow to try and ease opposition to the planned U.S. missile shield in Central Europe and proposals on finding a replacement to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-1), which expires at the end of 2009.

New confidence-building steps, in particular, would allow Russian monitors access to missile defense facilities in Poland and the Czech Republic.

"We have received the proposals and are currently studying them," said Igor Lyakin-Frolov, deputy head of the press and information department at the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Moscow has repeatedly expressed its opposition to Washington's plans to place 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and an accompanying radar in the Czech Republic, saying they threaten Russia's national security.

President Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday in his first state of the nation address that Russia would deploy short-range Iskander missile systems in its western exclave of Kaliningrad "to neutralize if necessary the anti-ballistic missile system in Europe."

Rood said that Medvedev's remarks were disappointing but that U.S.-Russian dialogue on the issue would continue.

The U.S. diplomat said he expected to meet his Russian counterpart, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov in Moscow in about two weeks to discuss missile defense and other issues, including a new U.S. proposal to further limit strategic nuclear weapons on both sides.

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