Russia backpedals on missile threat towards US

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Washington, Nov.17 : Russia has announced that it will not carry out its threats to deploy new missiles facing Europe and that the advent of a new U.S. administration provides "great opportunities" to overcome other differences with the United States.

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev announced this in Washington on Saturday on the sidelines of a G-20 leaders' meeting that was discussing solutions for arresting the global economic meltdown.

"I believe we have great opportunities to restore relations to the fullest extent, and we can build them on a new foundation," the Washington Times quoted Medvedev as saying during an address to the Council on Foreign Relations.

Medvedev had stunned U.S. President-elect Barack Obama by threatening to put missiles in the enclave of Kaliningrad if the United States carries out plans to deploy missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic.

On Saturday, he said he meant "nothing personal" by the timing of the speech. "I absolutely forgot about the important political event taking place that day," he said referring to Obama's election.

The Bush administration has said that the missile defenses are intended for Iran, but Russia objects to their deployment so close to its borders and says they are aimed at Russian targets.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy also seemed to back down from comments critical of the planned missile-defense system.

Sarkozy said in Nice, France, that the system would not make Europe safer.

Obama has suggested that he will not deploy radar in Europe until the technology is proven to work.

ANI

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