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US gives Russia new missile proposals

world Updated: Nov 22, 2007 20:28 IST

Reuters
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The United States has formally made new proposals to Russia aimed at easing tension over its missile defense plans in Europe, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

Russia has denounced US plans to deploy a radar in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in Poland as a threat to its security. It offered building up a joint missile defense system instead but this idea has aroused little interest in Washington.

Washington promised to set out its latest proposals to Moscow in writing following talks between foreign and defense ministers last month.

"... the American side has finally, and late at night, passed to Russia written proposals regarding anti-missile defense systems. We are studying them," Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Krivtsov said.

He gave no details of the substance of the proposals.

Following discussions on October 11-12, US officials said the suggestions included stationing Russian and American liaison officers at each other's missile defense facilities as part of a broader joint effort to protect against missile attacks.

In a bid to ease Russian concerns, Washington also said last month it had offered to delay activation of parts of its missile shield in Europe if Russia cooperated on the project.

Washington says it needs the European installations to avert potential missile attacks from Iran. Russia, which doubts Iran will have intercontinental missiles in the foreseeable future, has offered to share Qabala radar station it leases in Azerbaijan.

While Washington has made clear it was ready to cooperate with Russia, it said the Russian offer was an addition rather than a replacement for its missile shield plan.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also proposed setting up a joint missile defense system, which would include European countries.

Earlier this week Putin said Moscow would not remain indifferent to NATO's "muscle-flexing" and said Russia's nuclear forces would be ready for an adequate response to any aggressor.