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Report: Russia rejects U.S. missile cooperation

The Kremlin has rejected U.S. proposals for missile defense cooperation, calling them inadequate, according to Russian news agencies.
/ Source: news services

Russia has rejected U.S. proposals seeking to ease its concerns about a missile defense system that Washington plans to deploy in Europe, local news agencies quoted a Kremlin source as saying Wednesday.

"Russia is ready to cooperate with the United States on European security but considers the proposals that were sent are insufficient," Itar-Tass news agency quoted the unidentified source as saying.

"The current (U.S.) administration wants at any cost to ... exclude any discussion. In this way, the new U.S. president will carry the responsibility for what they have done,"  the official reportedly said.

The Kremlin source, who was not identified by name, was quoted by Russia's three main news agencies, an indication the comments reflected official policy.

The Kremlin refused to comment immediately on the report Wednesday.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last week warned that Russia would put short-range Iskander missiles near Poland if the United States continued with the plans.

Russia says the planned U.S. system will threaten its national security. Washington denies that charge, saying it is needed to protect against missile strikes from what it calls rogue states, specifically Iran.

The rejection of the proposals indicates the Kremlin is waiting for the administration of President-elect Barack Obama to take office. He has said he would make sure the system had been proven to work before it is deployed.

"We will not give our agreement to these proposals and we will speak to the new administration," Tass quoted the Kremlin source as saying.

Confidence-building measures
The United States had previously proposed confidence-building measures that included allowing Russian representatives access to sites where the missile system is to be deployed and providing real-time video monitoring of activities at the sites.

Senior U.S. officials said this week they were planning to discuss the proposals with their Russian counterparts soon.

The rejection of Washington's proposals comes on the same day that William Burns, the third-ranking official in the State Department, was in Moscow for talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Burns is the most senior U.S. official to visit Russia since the war in August between Russia and U.S. ally Georgia.