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Russia Downbeat, US Optimistic Ahead of NATO Talks on Missile Shield


A top Russian official says Moscow remains deeply concerned about U.S. plans for a missile defense system that Washington wants to deploy in central Europe.

Russian National Security Council chief Igor Ivanov said Tuesday he is not optimistic that the United States will address Russian concerns Thursday at a NATO-Russia Council meeting in Brussels.

Ivanov's skepticism contrasted sharply with that of senior U.S. envoy John Rood, who is in Moscow for talks on the controversial system. Rood said today he believes progress had been made and that further talks will resolve the dispute.

Last month, Moscow warned that the U.S. missile shield Washington wants to deploy in Poland and the Czech Republic could start a new European arms race.

U.S. officials insist the shield is aimed at preventing attacks from what it calls rogue states like Iran and North Korea.

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