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Gates: US to Continue Talks with Moscow on Missile Plan
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The United States would continue to discuss with Russia plans to deploy parts of its missile shied in Europe, visiting Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in Berlin on Wednesday.

An invitation had been issued to the Russians to inspect interceptor missile sites in Alaska and radar installations in California to increase confidence, Gates said at a joint press conference with his German counterpart Franz Josef Jung.

He said his country had offered to "co-locate" radar installations and share data with Russia.

"We will continue to consult with the Russians on missile defense as well as with our allies," Gates said. "We've made some very far-reaching proposals."

Gates was on his last leg of a European tour aimed to ease Russian opposition to the US plans to build missile defense bases in Europe. He had visited Warsaw and Moscow.

He said there were clearly differing opinions within the Kremlin and the Russian military, referring to remarks made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov when he visited Moscow on Monday.

"It will perhaps take a while for the Russians to consider what we've discussed," Gates said, "There clearly have to be divisions in Moscow on how to respond."

Lavrov had not taken part in the meetings in Moscow, he noted, adding that he had an invitation to return to Moscow for further talks.

On his part, Jung said the missile defense was a "total concept" and Russian objections were "unjustified."

He described the missile shield as a "defensive function for the population," adding it was aimed at countering a threat that could be 10 years away.

Berlin has urged Washington to engage Russia on its concerns about the US proposal to place 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic.

(Xinhua News Agency April 26, 2007)

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