Russian envoy says no missile shield talks with Poles, Czechs

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Russia will discuss contentious U.S. plans to deploy a missile shield in Central Europe only with Washington, not with host countries Poland and the Czech Republic, Moscow's NATO envoy said on Friday.
BRUSSELS, March 28 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will discuss contentious U.S. plans to deploy a missile shield in Central Europe only with Washington, not with host countries Poland and the Czech Republic, Moscow's NATO envoy said on Friday.

The U.S. intends to deploy 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic, which it says will provide defense against 'rogue states' such as Iran, plans that Moscow views as a direct threat to its own security.

Answering a reporter's question in Brussels, Dmitry Rogozin said: "We will talk with the U.S., but not with the Poles and the Czechs."

The issue, along with the CFE arms reduction treaty, is likely to be a focus of discussions between the Russian and U.S. presidents when they meet in Romania and Sochi next month

George W. Bush said on Wednesday he had accepted Vladimir Putin's invitation to visit his holiday residence in Sochi on the Black Sea on April 6 after the April 2-4 NATO summit in Romania "to discuss the strategic agreement, a crucial part of which is missile defense."

Russian and U.S. diplomats held talks in Washington on Wednesday and Thursday as a follow up to a visit to Moscow earlier this month by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates. The top officials brought proposals giving Russia access to monitor the planned missile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Rogozin called some elements of the proposals "ridiculous", in particular the idea of Poles and Czechs being given access to Russian military sites inside Russia, in exchange for Russians being given access to U.S. military sites outside the U.S., in Central Europe.

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