Russia says US not heeding its concerns on shield

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MOSCOW, Oct 31 (Reuters) Russia today accused Washington of speeding up plans to station elements of its planned missile shield in Europe while failing to give proper consideration to a Russian-proposed alternative.

In a statement, Russia's foreign ministry also suggested the United States was trying to create a ''holy alliance'' against Iran -- one of the states Washington says the shield is needed to protect against.

Washington wants to station elements of the shield in Poland and the Czech Republic. Moscow says the plan threatens its national security. The dispute has been the cause of mounting tension between Russia and the United States.

''The negotiations with the Czech Republic and Poland have not only not been halted, but additional steps are being taken to speed them up,'' Mikhail Kamynin, chief spokesman for Russia's foreign ministry, said in a statement.

''We get the impression that the United States is trying to make the implementation of its plans irreversible.'' Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered the US military access to real-time data from Russian radar stations as an alternative to the plan for a shield in Europe.

''Unfortunately, the American side prefers not to pay attention to the fact that the Russian proposals are an alternative, not a supplement, to the plans to deploy (a missile shield in Europe),'' the statement said.

It added: ''American thinking is being formulated based on the irrefutable logic that Iran is an enemy. We do not support plans to create a 'holy alliance' against this country.'' Officials had expressed tentative hopes of a compromise on the shield after US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice came to Mosocw this month with a series of proposals aimed at easing Russian concerns.

But the foreign ministry statement said Washington had not honoured an agreement to follow up on those offers with formal, written proposals.

It said since Rice's visit, US officials had been making statements that did not fit in with the ideas discussed during the talks in Moscow.


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