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Russia says U.S. can't have both Gabala, Europe missile shields -1

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The United States cannot deploy a missile shield in Central Europe and at the same time accept Russia's offer for the use of the Gabala radar in Azerbaijan, Russia's Foreign Ministry said Friday.
(Adds Kamynin quotes, missile shield background in paras 4-10)

MOSCOW, July 27 (RIA Novosti) - The United States cannot deploy a missile shield in Central Europe and at the same time accept Russia's offer for the use of the Gabala radar in Azerbaijan, Russia's Foreign Ministry said Friday.

"Russia's proposals are an alternative, rather than a complement, to U.S. plans to deploy elements of its missile defense system in Europe," ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said.

In Kamynin's comments, posted on the ministry's Web site, the spokesman discussed the results of a meeting of the NATO-Russia Joint Permanent Council held Wednesday, at which Russia sought to clarify proposals for alternative missile defense sites made to the U.S. by President Vladimir Putin.

Kamynin said Russia's delegation to the Brussels meeting had said that "missile defense systems affecting the interests of many states should be developed, built, and deployed on the basis of collective assessments of real missile threats."

"Importantly, such actions must not undermine regional or global stability, and must not result in new global dividing lines," he said.

The United States has sought to deploy the "third site" of its global missile defense - the first two being in Alaska and California - ostensibly to fend off a hypothetical missile attack from Iran, in Poland and Czech Republic.

Moscow has complained that the X-band radar slated to be part of the missile shield could be used to undermine its military capability, and has proposed that the U.S. use its Gabala radar in Azerbaijan and a future radar in South Russia's Krasnodar Territory instead.

Democrat-controlled Congress has several times slashed funds allocated for the "third site," and some European NATO members have questioned whether it makes sense to have missile defenses on the continent that are controlled by the U.S., rather than NATO.

Kamynin said The NATO-Russia Joint Permanent Council meeting "demonstrated that many NATO representatives share our view - that it is necessary to continue consultations to arrive at a mutually-acceptable result in which the concerns of all countries concerned are taken into account."

Meanwhile, "all efforts to set up the "third site" must be frozen," he said.

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