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'Russia dismisses US offers on missile defence'

world Updated: Nov 24, 2007 08:49 IST

AFP
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Russia is not satisfied with written US offers aimed at allaying its concerns over planned missile defences in eastern Europe, news agencies have quoted a foreign ministry source as saying.

"They have sent concrete proposals. We are continuing to study them, but our first impression is that they do not meet our expectations. This is not what was promised orally" in recent talks on the subject, the source said on Friday.

The comments were in marked contrast to remarks on Thursday by President Vladimir Putin, who said he discussed the issue with US President George W Bush "the other day" and "it seems that our concerns are being listened to."

The foreign ministry source said the written offers from Washington "do not correspond" with proposals made orally by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defence Secretary Robert Gates in talks in Moscow last month.

Another Russian foreign ministry source quoted later by Russian agencies was even more critical, saying that the latest US correspondence was dramatically different from the Rice-Gates proposals.

"Now there is no more talk of joint assessment of threats, of Russian experts' presence at missile shield's sites, no readiness to keep the system non-operational if there is no actual missile threat -- everything is so washed out that it is hard to recognize the earlier proposals."

Rice and Gates discussed the US missile defence project with Putin and with their Russian counterparts and US officials said afterwards that they had made several proposals designed to ease Russian concern.