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    Putin says U.S. could change missile plans for Europe

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    Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday he believed Washington could change its plans to deploy missile defense elements in Central Europe.

    TEHRAN, October 16 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday he believed Washington could change its plans to deploy missile defense elements in Central Europe.

    "Recent meetings with our American partners have shown that their position can undergo certain transformations. We will continue dialogue," Putin said, while acknowledging that discussions on U.S. missile shield plans had been difficult.

    The foreign and defense ministers of Russia and the United States failed to resolve a dispute on Washington's plans to build a missile base in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic at last Friday's talks in Moscow, but agreed to resume discussions in Washington next April.

    Russia says new missile bases in Europe will be a threat to its national security. Washington insists broader missile defense capability is needed to counter possible strikes from rogues like North Korea and Iran.

    Speaking in Tehran after a summit of Caspian littoral states, Putin repeated the U.S. fears were unsubstantiated. "If we are to build up missile defense, we have to specify the threats. There is no trustworthy evidence today as to where they are emanating from."

    Other points of contention in relations between Moscow and Washington have included Iran's controversial nuclear program and the future status of Serbia's Albanian-dominated province of Kosovo.

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