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U.S.: Defense shield isn't against Russia

March 16, 2012 at 12:38 PM

WASHINGTON, March 16 (UPI) -- U.S.-Russian talks on Europe's missile defense system will include discussion on guarantees the system isn't focused on Russia, U.S. officials said.

Philip H. Gordon, U.S. assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, said discussions about the defense system and guarantees that it wasn't directed against Russia would continue, even as the United States and Russia agree to disagree, ITAR-Tass reported Friday.

On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, "If the United States does not want to change anything in the missile defense plans, it should provide guarantees that it is not directed against Russia."

Gordon, in an interview with ITAR-Tass in Washington, said the United States has repeatedly stressed the missile defense system in Europe is not directed against Russia but against threats from beyond Europe.

Gordon said U.S. officials don't believe the system would undermine Russia's nuclear deterrent capabilities.

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