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Russia awaits formal proposals on U.S. missile shield-top brass

RIA Novosti

21/11/2008 15:20 KALININGRAD, November 21 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will consider its Western partners' proposals on the U.S. missile defense plans for Europe only when they are legally formalized, the chief of the General Staff said on Friday.

"There have been many proposals on the American missile plans for Europe," Gen. Nikolai Makarov said. "But they are only statements. When they are legally formalized, we will consider them."

Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said on Thursday that Warsaw does not object to Russian experts having an "almost" permanent presence at the planned U.S. missile base on its territory, something it had earlier rejected.

Moscow has fiercely opposed the planned deployment of 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic saying they will pose a threat to its security. Washington has said the bases are needed to counter possible strikes from "rogue" states like Iran.

The two countries have held a series of talks on the issue, but failed to reach a compromise.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev earlier threatened to deploy Iskander-M short-range missiles in the country's Kaliningrad exclave, which borders NATO members Poland and Lithuania, if the U.S. missile defense system was deployed in Central Europe.

However, Medvedev later said such a response could be reconsidered if "the new U.S. administration is ready to once again review and analyze all the consequences of its decisions to deploy the missiles and radar facilities."

After Barack Obama's U.S. presidential election victory, one of his foreign policy advisers said the president-elect was not committed to the missile shield, and would only continue with the project if its effectiveness was proven.

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