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Russia has not yet seen readiness from Poland and the Czech
Russia has not yet seen readiness from Poland and the Czech Republic to accept new U.S. proposals to admit Russian military personnel to missile shield locations, the foreign minister said.

The Pentagon's plans to deploy missile defense elements in the two Central European countries continues to be a major bone of contention in relations between the U.S. and Russia, which considers the project a threat to its security. Washington has proposed a range of measures to allay Russian concerns.

"What we have so far heard does not allow us to say that these countries are ready to accept measures proposed to us by the United States, in particular the permanent deployment of Russian officers to the facilities," Sergei Lavrov told reporters late on Tuesday after meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Kuwait.

Lavrov said the presence of Russian military personnel could "ease concerns" over the issue.

The U.S. is planning to modify its X-band radar on the Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific and relocate it to the Czech Republic as part of its proposed European missile shield, which will also include deploying 10 interceptor missiles in Poland.

At a meeting in Moscow last month involving the two countries' top foreign policy and defense officials, the U.S. proposed measures to build transparency and confidence. The possibility of deploying Russian officers to U.S. missile defense locations in Europe was also discussed, but the proposals did not include their potential permanent deployment, on which Russia has insisted.

The Russian diplomat said he had criticized State Department officials for trying to make NATO believe that all problems concerning Russia's opposition to U.S. missile shield plans in Europe had been removed.

"I made it clear to Condoleezza Rice that this is not quite the case. We agreed [at a Russia-U.S. summit earlier this month] in Sochi to discuss U.S. proposals to build transparency," Lavrov said.

He said Russia could put forward amendments to the U.S. proposals, and reiterated that Russia's concerns could be eased only if agreement is reached on such measures.

Russia has rejected Washington's assurances that the planned missile defense system is designed as protection against possible attacks by Iran and other 'rogue' states.


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