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U.S. could ease Russia's missile defense concerns - Lavrov

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The U.S. could ease Russia's concerns over its plans to deploy missile defenses in Central Europe, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a popular Russian daily.
MOSCOW, April 17 (RIA Novosti) - The U.S. could ease Russia's concerns over its plans to deploy missile defenses in Central Europe, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a popular Russian daily.

The U.S. is planning to modify its X-band radar on the Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific and relocate it to the Czech Republic as part of its proposed European missile shield, which will also include deploying 10 interceptor missiles in Poland.

"We believe it would be easy to relieve these concerns by not deploying missile defenses in Europe. But as long as our partners refuse to do so, Russia wants to be assured that their deployment will not be targeted against it," Lavrov said in an interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda published on Thursday.

Lavrov said the U.S. had acknowledged Russia's worries over the issue at a NATO summit in Bucharest in early April. The missile plans were also discussed at a meeting between U.S. President George Bush and Russia's outgoing leader Vladimir Putin in Sochi on Russia's Black Sea after the summit.

"The U.S. has proposed measures to build transparency and confidence, and we have reciprocal proposals, as well as questions on a number of U.S. ideas. If we reach an agreement, our concerns could be alleviated," Lavrov said adding that the two countries would continue dialogue.

Yury Baluyevsky, chief of Russia's General Staff, said last week that U.S. plans to deploy elements of its missile shield in Central Europe were a result of Russia's growing global role.

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