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Sergei Lavrov (left) spoke on a visit to Minsk (Bymedia.net)
June 28, 2007 -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Moscow hopes its objections to U.S. plans to deploy parts of a missile shield in Central Europe will be "taken seriously."
Washington says its antimissile shield project is aimed at countering potential threats from countries such as Iran, but the plan has angered Moscow, which says it threatens Russian national security.
"From the point of view of geography and geometry, these [missile-defense] sites in Eastern Europe are not necessary for defending against the threat that the initiators of their deployment refer to," Lavrov said during an official visit to the Belarusian capital, Minsk. "And we have talked about it at length, professionally, with candor, presenting facts. We hope our arguments will be taken seriously. It is not easy to brush them aside."
Lavrov also said Iran was not planning to develop missiles that would threaten Europe.
Lavrov's remarks come as Russian President Vladimir Putin and his U.S. counterpart, George W. Bush, prepare to meet on July 1-2 in the United States.
(Reuters, Interfax, ITAR-TASS)