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Russia Says US Ignoring Moscow's Missile Shield Alternatives


Russia is accusing the United States of pressing forward with plans for a missile defense system in Europe, without giving proper consideration to Russian-proposed alternatives.

Russia's Foreign Ministry, in a statement, also suggests Washington is trying to create a "sacred" alliance against Iran - one of the so-called rogue countries whose missiles the U.S. system is designed to counter.

The Bush administration wants to deploy 10 missile interceptors in Poland and guidance radar in the Czech Republic. Moscow says the planned deployment will destabilize Europe and lead to a new arms race.

In Wednesday's Russian statement, chief Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said Russian authorities "get the impression the United States is trying to make the implementation of its plans irreversible."

Moscow has counter-offered to cooperate with the United States in using a Russian-operated military base in Azerbaijan.

Last week, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said U.S. planners are considering a delay in activating the European missile sites, until it has proof of a missile threat from Iran.

In other developments, Czech and U.S. negotiators are holding talks in Prague on the planned U.S. deployment. The Associated Press says the talks, which end Thursday, are focusing on financial and environmental aspects of the deployment.

Separately, Russian and U.S. envoys met Wednesday in Vienna for further talks on the proposed missile shield.

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