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Russia Wants Talks with US on Missile Defense Plan
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Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday that his country wanted to hold talks with the United States over its intentions to deploy part of a missile defense shield in eastern Europe.

"The Americans' decision has been made in a way that is disrespectful both to the European Union and even to other NATO members," Lavrov said according to the Interfax news agency at the State Duma, the lower house of parliament.

Russian military experts want to "talk professionally" with their US partners "to persuade them that the hypothetic threats can be countered using other methods that would not pose a tangible threat to Russia," Lavrov was quoted as saying.

The United States is seeking to deploy a missile defense radar in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in Poland as part of a US-built shield against ballistic missiles. The intentions have drawn sharp criticism from Moscow despite US assurance the system is not targeted at Russia.

The plans to deploy missile defense elements in Europe "run counter to the security approach that Russia is promoting," Lavrov said.

"Such things should be done collectively rather than based on an old approach, when our American partners devised something for themselves and then started implementing this assuming everybody would accept it as a fait accompli," he said.

"This is how it was done in the past, during the Cold War era," Lavrov said, adding: "Now we are facing common threats."

(Xinhua News Agency March 22, 2007 )

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