'Russia receives new US missile shield proposals'

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Moscow, Nov 7: Russia has received new US proposals aimed at easing Moscow's concerns over the planned European missile shield and replacing Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-I).

''We have received the proposals and are currently studying them,'' Igor Lyakin-Frolov, a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry told RIA Novosti on Friday, Nov 7. Mr Frolov was referring to a statement by the US Under Secretary of State John Rood yesterday, saying Washington made a new offer to Moscow to try and ease opposition to the planned US missile shield in Central Europe and proposals on finding a replacement to the 1991 START-I, which expires at the end of 2009.

New confidence-building measures, in particular, would allow Russian monitors access to missile defence facilities in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Russia has opposed from the beginning Washington's plans to deploy 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and an accompanying radar in the Czech Republic, saying they threaten Russia's national security.

Last Wednesday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, in his maiden address to the joint session of Parliament, declared Russia would deploy short-range Iskander missile systems in Kaliningrad Region ''to neutralise, if necessary, the anti-ballistic missile system in Europe.'' Mr Rood said Mr Medvedev's remarks were disappointing but US-Russian dialogue on the issue would continue.

He also said he expected to meet his Russian counterpart, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, in Moscow in about two weeks to discuss missile defence and other issues, including the new US proposal to further limit strategic nuclear weapons on both sides.


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