Moscow, Mar 20: The US has handed Russia new proposals on the planned deployment of a missile defence shield in Central Europe, a Russian deputy foreign minister confirmed.
''The proposals have been received and are being studied,'' Mr Sergei Kislyak said. US Defence Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice put forward proposals at a meeting on Tuesday to ease Moscow's concerns, and said the plan would be finalised in writing by the end of the day. The top diplomats and defence chiefs failed at the talks in Moscow to reach an agreement on Washington's plans to deploy a missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic, which Moscow views as a threat to its own security, but both sides agreed to continue negotiations. Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said on Tuesday the '2+2' talks had shown the sides' positions remained unchanged, but Foreign Minister of Russia Sergei Lavrov called the new proposals put forward by Ms Rice and Mr Gates ''useful and important''.
After the last round of talks between the four ministers in October 2007, the US sent written proposals that Russia said contradicted the agreements reached at the discussions, RIA Novosti reported.
On Tuesday, Ms Rice admitted that there had been some discrepancies between the conceptual ideas put forward at the October meeting and the subsequent written proposals.