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US Assures Russia It Is Not Targeted by Missile System


U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried says the United States has given Russia what he calls far-reaching assurances that it is not the target of a planned missile defense system in Europe.

Fried told VOA Russian service Wednesday that Moscow was impressed by Washington's latest proposal.

He says it includes an offer to work with Russia and NATO on missile defense. It also includes what Fried calls very specific and transparent measures to assure the Kremlin that it has nothing to fear from the U.S. plans.

Russia's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, told the Isvestia newspaper that the U.S. is ready to offer Moscow trust-building measures that the system is not directed at Russia.

The United States plans to put interceptor missiles and radar in Poland and the Czech Republic to defend the U.S. and its European allies from attacks by what the U.S. considers rogue states such as Iran.

Russia has called the plan a threat to its security.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates were in Moscow this week for missile defense talks with President Vladimir Putin and President-elect Dmitri Medvedev.

Fried also says NATO has invited President Putin to next month's summit in Bucharest because of what he describes as the potential for a partnership between NATO and Russia. He called NATO expansion a wonderful thing for Russian and European stability and says Russia's western borders have never been so secure.

Russia has made it clear it opposes NATO membership for Georgia and Ukraine.

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

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