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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian FM Lavrov criticizes U.S. missile cooperation proposals

RIA Novosti

27/11/2007 11:58 ANNAPOLIS (U.S.), November 27 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's foreign minister criticized on Tuesday Washington's proposals on missile defense cooperation after talks with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Russia has fiercely opposed the United States' 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.

"The formal proposals we have received and are continuing to study are a major rollback from what we agreed in Moscow in early October," at talks between the two countries' defense and foreign affairs chiefs, Sergei Lavrov said.

Lavrov said Washington did not appear to be seeking Russian cooperation in assessing possible threats, but wanted Moscow to help implement its plans.

"If by cooperation they mean pursuing their unilateral plans to build missile defense facilities in Eastern Europe and invite us to share our information, that is not what we have in mind, when we propose jointly analyzing threats and the subsequent measures to be taken," Lavrov said.

But Lavrov said Russia still hoped a compromise could be reached during further talks at an expert level. He said the meeting was to be hosted by the U.S., and the date was still to be fixed.

In Moscow, the countries also agreed to discuss the moratorium on the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, Russia imposed in response to the missile shield plans and NATO's expansion, and a future arms control regime.

"So far, not much progress has been made on those issues, but we hope our experts will find some way to prevent a major disruption to strategic stability," Lavrov said.

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