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9 Oct, 2007 06:57

Russian FM Lavrov optimistic ahead of missile defence talks

U.S. defence and foreign ministers are due in Moscow at the end of this week for talks on Washington's missile shield plans in Europe. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says his expectations are high before the crucial meeting.

“The consultations held in preparation for the ministers’ meeting demonstrated that we have solid arguments for taking this approach. The American side promised that by the time we meet in the two-plus-two format, they will have a definite response to our proposals ready. We hope that the decision they make will help us strengthen strategic stability rather than create new risks,” Mr Lavrov noted.

Russia has been critical of U.S. plans to install the missile shield in central Europe, with bases in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Four months ago, during talks at the G8 summit, Vladimir Putin suggested the U.S. use a radar system in Azerbaijan to develop a shield covering all of Europe.

It is thought the U.S. may give its answer to the proposal during the talks.