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Russia Urges U.S. To Halt Europe Missile Shield --> Sergei Lavrov (file photo) (OSCE) June 9, 2007 -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged the United States today to halt moves to deploy parts of a missile-defense system in Europe pending negotiations on the issue.

Lavrov spoke two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed to U.S. President George W. Bush that the two nations jointly use a radar station Azerbaijan currently rents out to Russia.

Bush said the surprising offer was "interesting" but, in a meeting with Polish President Lech Kaczynski on June 8, he pressed ahead with the U.S. plan to deploy interceptors in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic.

Washington says the missile-defense system is to prevent attacks from "rogue states." Russia says it would destroy the strategic balance in Europe and threaten its national security.

Lavrov today said the U.S. plan could "seriously complicate" efforts to solve the standoff over Iran's nuclear program.

(compiled from agency reports)