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Russia's missile-defense proposals still stand - Kremlin

RIA Novosti

21:57 30/09/2009 MOSCOW, September 30 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's missile-defense proposals, including the joint use of its radar facilities, are still on the table, a presidential press secretary said on Wednesday.

Natalya Timakova said these proposals referred in particular to the use of the Gabala and Armavir radar stations, in Azerbaijan and Russia's Krasnodar Territory, respectively.

"If the U.S. and European sides show interest in them, we will cooperate along these lines," she said.

Moscow offered the use of the radar stations as alternatives to now-scrapped U.S. plans for a missile shield in Central Europe, but Washington had said they could be used as "supplements," if at all.

The chief of the U.S. missile defense agency said the radar site in Azerbaijan is too close to Iran to serve as an adequate replacement for the proposed facility in the Czech Republic.

The United States has not revisited Russia's proposals since President Barack Obama announced on September 17 that Washington would not deploy missile-defense elements in the Czech Republic and Poland due to a re-assessment of the threat from Iran.

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Monday that the Western alliance and Russia should consider linking their missile defense systems, an idea in general welcomed by Russia.

President Dmitry Medvedev has said Russia is ready to continue missile defense cooperation with the U.S. and Europe, praising the recent U.S. decisions on missile defense as "sensible."

According to the Obama administration's new plan, land-based missile-defense shields will not be implemented before 2015. Sea-based defenses will be operating in the Mediterranean up to 2015.

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