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    Russia, U.S. may sign new deal on child adoption in few months

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    Russia and the United States may sign an agreement regulating child adoption in the near future, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry's department in charge of relations with Washington said on Friday

    Russia and the United States may sign an agreement regulating child adoption in the near future, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry's department in charge of relations with Washington said on Friday.

    Alexander Zakharov described the talks on the agreement as "intensive" and said it could be signed in the "next few months".

    The third round of talks on a new deal on child adoption took place in Washington earlier this week. The U.S. Department of State said the sides had not come to an agreement yet, but there was a "steady progress" in talks.

    The first two rounds of talks were held in Moscow this spring. The U.S. side had already received a draft agreement from Russia, and returned an amended text in early June.

    Russia is one of the largest sources of adoptions for U.S. families, accounting for about 10% of foreign adoptions, but the issue has become controversial in recent years following several incidents involving the mistreatment of Russian children in the United States.

    In a recent incident, a 7-year-old boy was put on a plane alone to Moscow with a note from his U.S. adoptive mother, who claimed he was "psychopathic."

    At least 15 children have died at the hands of their adoptive parents in the U.S. since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the issue has seen repeated calls for a ban on foreign adoptions of Russian children. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said Russia could freeze child adoptions by U.S. citizens until the countries sign a formal agreement regulating them.

    MOSCOW, June 18 (RIA Novosti)

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