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US Avoids to Judge Feasibility of Russia's Missile Shield Proposal
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The US remained on Tuesday reluctant to make direct judgment on Russia's proposal last week for joint use of a radar station that Russia controls in Azerbaijan as a means of countering missile threats.


"What we now have is a basis of conversation," White House spokesman Tony Snow told reporters when asked whether Washington was considering Moscow's offer.


"The implication before the G8 was that Russia was adamantly opposed to any kind of (missile) defense. It turns out that it's not. We look at that as a constructive step forward."


Snow denied the saying that the White House was playing "gamesmanship" as it weighed Russia's proposal, noting President George W. Bush and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin are due to discuss the matter at the Bush family estate in Kennebunkport, Maine, on July 1-2.


On June 7, Bush held talks with Putin when the two leaders were attending the Group of Eight (G8) summit in Heiligendamm, Germany. Putin promised Bush that Moscow would not oppose a US plan of a radar-based missile defense system in Europe if it was deployed in Azerbaijan instead of Central Europe.


The Bush administration has so far withheld judgment on Putin's offer, saying it needs time to study it and consult with allies.


Russia is angered at the US plan to deploy missile interceptors in Poland and radar units in the Czech Republic as part of a project to extend the missile defense system in Europe.


The US insists that the deployment of the system is aimed at preventing attacks from rogue states, not Russia.


(Xinhua News Agency June 13, 2007)

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