MANILA, August 2 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's foreign minister said Thursday that Moscow expected a written response from the United States to its counterproposal on Washington's plans for a missile shield in Central Europe.
"The U.S. side will provide a written response," Sergei Lavrov told journalists after a regional security forum in Manila.
He said that at talks in the Philippine capital, some participants suggested that the flexible approach being used to resolve the nuclear dispute with North Korea could prove useful in dealing with Iran. "Many of them said the flexibility demonstrated by members of the six-party talks [on North Korea] could be used as an example in addressing the Iranian nuclear problem," he said.
He said the cautious optimism currently felt by many parties would strengthen as Iran continues to honor its pledge to cooperate with the IAEA.
Lavrov also said that Russia and Australia are drafting several bilateral agreements for President Vladimir Putin's visit, scheduled for September, but did not provide any details.
The minister said Wednesday the United States failed to produce convincing evidence of a need to deploy its missile defense system in Central Europe at the first round of negotiations in Washington, adding the sides had agreed to prepare thoroughly for the second round of talks due in Moscow in early September.
The Russian delegation at the talks on missile defense held in Washington July 30-31 was led by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak. At the negotiations, military and political officials from the two countries discussed prospects for cooperation on the issue, and the U.S. invited Russian specialists to view U.S. missile interceptors at a base in Alaska.
Russian representatives reiterated Moscow's position that the U.S. has no reason to build a missile defense system in Europe until there is conclusive evidence showing that Iran has the capability to launch long-range nuclear-armed missiles.
The U.S. has said it wants to place a radar and a host of interceptor missiles in Poland and the Czech Republic to fend off what Washington sees as an impending missile threat from Iran and North Korea. But Russia regards the plan as a threat to its national security.
President Vladimir Putin, during his two-day meeting with President George W. Bush at the Bush family home in Kennebunkport, Maine, last month, proposed incorporating a new radar, currently being built in southern Russia, into a missile defense system managed by the NATO-Russia Joint Permanent Council, of which Moscow and Washington are members.
Russia also said it is ready to upgrade its early warning radar in Gabala, Azerbaijan, which was also proposed as an alternative to U.S. missile plans, but Washington has repeatedly called it obsolete.
Russia's future radar base is located near the town of Armavir, in the Krasnodar Territory - about 700 kilometer (450 miles) northwest of the Iranian border, and just 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of Sochi, which recently won the bid to host the 2014 Winter Olypmics.
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