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Lavrov Says Putin's Remarks About US Influence Misinterpreted

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the West is wrong to interpret President Vladimir Putin's recent remarks as trying to ignite a blast of anti-U.S. rhetoric or spark another Cold War.

Writing in Sunday's Washington Post newspaper, Lavrov said Mr. Putin's words were not new and that he has already raised his concerns with the Bush administration.

At a recent speech in Munich, Mr. Putin said the United States is fueling a new global arms race by using force and making other countries feel insecure.

Lavrov wrote that Russia is eager and ready to play a positive role in world affairs, saying it does more harm than good to treat Moscow with hostility when it disagrees with Washington.

He said Mr. Putin believes, as many others do, that the world cannot be dominated by a single country.

Lavrov writes that many Russians wonder why the United States feels threatened when it is NATO that has expanded to the Russian border and the United States plans a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic.

The White House insists the planned missile defense system in Eastern Europe is no threat to Russia or anyone else, but aimed at countering a possible missile launch from the Middle East and North Korea.

At the time, the White House said it had been surprised and disappointed by Mr. Putin's remarks.