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Russian Official: Moscow Ready for Dialogue on US Missile Defense

A senior Russian official says Moscow is ready for dialogue on the latest U.S. proposal for a planned missile shield in Europe.

First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov told the Russian News Service Radio station Monday that Moscow has received written proposals from the United States on the missile defense shield.

He said if the United States decides to disregard Moscow's position and act in its own interest, Russia will have the right to respond by ensuring its own security.

But he said Russia will not be drawn into an arms race.

The United States is planning to install parts of its missile shield system in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Russia is vehemently opposed to the idea.

Russia's Itar-Tass news agency also quoted Ivanov as saying that Russia is not retreating from the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, but has announced a moratorium on its implementation as of December 12 because other members have not ratified changes made in 1999.

Itar-Tass quotes him as saying it is wrong to speak of military threats from Russia because the country has not made any aggressive moves in recent history.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.