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Russia says it hopes for missile defense agreement with U.S.-1

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Moscow hopes to reach an agreement on missile defense with the U.S., Russia's foreign minister said Friday in an interview with TV network Vesti 24.
(Adds Lavrov quotes)

MOSCOW, June 22 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow hopes to reach an agreement on missile defense with the U.S., Russia's foreign minister said Friday in an interview with TV network Vesti 24.

"What we have so far, is an agreement to arrange a meeting between the Russian and U.S. presidents to discuss this issue. There is an agreement to set up a joint working group, and we will do our best to convert these contacts into results," Sergei Lavrov said.

"I am convinced that the commander-in-chief, the General Staff, and the Defense Ministry will do everything to make us feel confident about Russia's security," he said.

"The U.S. is convinced that Iran is a threat; we are ready to prove - using the radar if necessary - that these fears are unwarranted," the Russian minister said.

Answering the question on what measures Russia is ready to take if no agreement with the U.S. is reached, Lavrov said:

"The Russian President has made it clear that [what was said] was not a threat or political stunt. It is a military planners' job to make appropriate decisions as the strategic architecture in other countries changes," Lavrov said.

U.S. President George W. Bush invited Vladimir Putin to his father's house at Kennebunkport, Maine, on July 1-2. Putin's aide Igor Shuvalov has said the meeting is not expected to bring any decisive results on missile defense.

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