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Medvedev to discuss missile defense during U.S. visit

RIA Novosti

10:41 11/06/2010

MOSCOW, June 11 (RIA Novosti) - Russia President Dmitry Medvedev will discuss the controversial issue of missile defense with the U.S. leadership during his upcoming visit to the United States, the Russian foreign minister said.

Relations between Russia and the United States have warmed since Medvedev and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama announced last year a new policy of resetting bilateral ties and overcoming Cold-war era set-backs.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev plans to visit the United States in June to boost Russian-U.S. cooperation in various spheres, including trade and the high-tech industry.

"This [the U.S. missile defense plans in Europe] will be one of the topics for discussion; we have high expectations of this summit," Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with Russia's Kommersant daily.

"We have not yet agreed on this [missile defense] issue and we are trying to clarify how the agreements reached by the two presidents...correlate with the actions taken unilaterally by Washington," Lavrov said, adding that the Obama administration had not coordinated its missile defense plans with Russia.

Although Obama suspended last September plans by the Bush administration to deploy missile-defense elements in the Czech Republic and Poland, Washington has not given up on its European missile shield initiative.

The United States opened in May a temporary military base near the northern Polish town of Morag, 80 km (50 miles) from the border of Russia's Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, in accordance with an agreement negotiated under former President George Bush in 2008.

U.S. troops will be deployed to train Polish forces at the site until 2012, when the base is expected to become permanent. Moscow has expressed concern over the base's proximity to the Russian border and suggested that it be moved to a different location.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that the deployment did not enhance regional security and cooperation.

The United States is also in talks with Bulgaria and Romania on deploying elements of the U.S. missile shield on their territories from 2015.

Russia believes the deployment of anti-missile weapons near its borders undermines the existing balance of forces and threatens its national security.

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