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Russian Diplomat: Washington, Moscow No Closer on Missile Shield


Russia's deputy foreign minister says his country and the United states have so far failed to overcome disagreements over U.S. plans to deploy a missile defense system in central Europe.

Sergei Kislyak said Wednesday in Moscow that negotiations will continue. But he said two rounds of talks with U.S. envoys have not yielded a breakthrough.

Russia strongly opposes the U.S. plan for 10 missile interceptors in Poland and radar guidance technology in the Czech Republic. President Vladimir Putin says the deployment will lead to a European arms race.

The Bush administration says the system is aimed at protecting the United States and its European allies from missile attacks from rogue states.

Russia has proposed sharing with the United States an existing missile radar site in Azerbaijan. A U.S. delegation visited the site Tuesday as the Americans continue to study the proposal.

In Azerbaijan Wednesday, Deputy Foreign Minister Araz Azimov said his government wants its security concerns addressed, before agreeing to any such deal. He did not detail those concerns.

In a separate development, Russian Kislyak said the Kremlin views its decision to suspend a key European arms treaty as a "serious" signal to the West.

But he also said the government is ready to work with the West to resolve differences over the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty. The treaty limits the number of aircraft, tanks and other weaponry in NATO and former Warsaw pact countries.

Moscow has complained that Western governments have not signed a revised treaty reflecting the breakup of the former Soviet Union. NATO members have insisted that Moscow first honor its commitment to withdraw troops from the former Soviet republics of Georgia and Moldova.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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