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    Russia optimistic over U.S. talks on European shield - envoy

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    Russia believes the first meeting of the Russian-NATO working group on the European missile-defense program will be successful, Russia's envoy to NATO said on Tuesday.

    Russia believes the first meeting of the Russian-NATO working group on the European missile-defense program will be successful, Russia's envoy to NATO said on Tuesday.

    Envoy Dmitry Rogozin said Moscow was looking forward to a "real exchange of data and evaluations as part of preparation for the overall analysis of Russia-NATO cooperation on European missile-defense.

    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said his state of the nation address on November 30 that Russia would "have to adopt decisions on the deployment of new strategic weapons" if talks on missile defense failed.

    Medvedev also said that Russia was ready to participate in a joint missile defense shield in Europe. Russia and NATO agreed at a recent NATO-Russia summit in Lisbon to formulate terms for missile defense cooperation by June 2011.

    The results of November's elections to Congress, which saw the Republicans make big gains at the expense of the Democrats, mean that President Barack Obama has until January, when the new Congressmen take up their positions, to try to push the treaty through. The Obama administration hopes to get the treaty ratified by Christmas.

    Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the arms reduction treaty on April 8 in Prague to replace the START 1 agreement that expired in December 2009.

    The new Russian-U.S. pact obligates both nations to cap their fielded strategic nuclear weapons to 1,550 warheads, while the number of deployed and non-deployed delivery vehicles must not exceed 800 on either side.

    The agreement will only come into force after simultaneous ratification by both chambers of the Russian parliament and the U.S. Senate.

    BRUSSELS, December 14 (RIA Novosti)

     

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