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Germany Calls For Dialogue On U.S. Missile-Defense Plan

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (file photo) (InterPressNews) March 17, 2007 -- German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, on the eve of a visit to Washington, has called for an open dialogue on U.S. plans to build a missile-defense system in Europe.

Steinmeier made his remarks in an article for the Sunday edition of the "Frankfurter Allgemeine" of March 18, when he departs for talks with officials in the U.S. capital.

He said the U.S. plan to base parts of a missile-defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic has merits but should not create new mistrust in Europe.

Russia bitterly opposes the plan, a view reiterated today by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Speaking to Russian defense and foreign policy experts in Gorki-10, Lavrov said the defense system, which Washington says is intended to stop missile threats from states such as Iran, would have a "serious and negative impact" on Russian relations with NATO.

(AFP, dpa)