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Sergei Ivanov in New Delhi today (epa)
January 24, 2007 -- Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov today sharply criticized U.S. plans to deploy missile-defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic.
Washington says the sites are intended to counter missile threats posed by Iran and North Korea, but Ivanov suggested Russia did not trust the U.S. claims, noting that neither Iran nor North Korea have or are expected to have the capability of launching missiles against Europe.
"We answer to that, knowing the real state of affairs, that neither North Korean nor Iranian missiles can reach a designated target, just because they [such missiles] don't exist," Ivanov said during a visit to New Delhi, India, today. "And then a logical question arises: against whom is this missile-defense system being made?"
Meanwhile, the Czech Republic today moved closer to reaching a decision on allowing a missile-defense base, as the country's National Security Council agreed to official negotiations with the United States.
(compiled from agency reports)