Russia hopes for Obama's positive response on shield in Europe

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Moscow, Nov 15 (UNI) Russia has expressed the hope that US President-elect Barack Obama will seriously look into the effectiveness of the Bush administration's plan on missile shield in Central Europe.

In an interview broadcast on popular Ekho Moskvy radio today, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow was confident that Obama would ''analyse the situation concerning the deployment'' of elements of a US missile shield in the Czech Republic and Poland ''from the point of view of their cost and effectiveness.'' ''We are confident that the new US President already has plans for this,'' Mr Lavrov said, stressing Russia would be forced to adopt measures to neutralise the threat ''that would certainly be caused'' if the US were to go ahead with the plans for a missile shield.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced last week the possible deployment of Iskander-M short-range missile systems in the Kaliningrad region, sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea.

Mr Medvedev, however, said in an interview with France's Figaro newspaper published on Thursday, ''We could reconsider this response if the new US administration is ready to once again review and analyse all the consequences of its decisions to deploy the missiles and radar facilities.'' Washington recently said it had provided new proposals to ease Russia's concerns over the planned deployment of 10 US interceptor missiles in Poland and a tracking radar in the Czech Republic, which the Bush administration has said are needed to counter possible attacks from ''rogue'' states such as Iran.

Russia has opposed the US missile shield plan in Europe, saying it is a threat to its national security.

It has also indicated it would not address the US proposals until Mr Obama is inaugurated as US President in January.

Mr Lavrov also called for a pause in unilateral moves in the sphere of European security.

''It is necessary to take a pause with regard to unilateral actions in the sphere of European security, whether it be the missile shield or NATO expansion,'' he said.

He also disclosed that a pan-European security treaty earlier proposed by Mr Medvedev contained a section dedicated to the resolving of armed conflicts.

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