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Russia hopes for US flexibility on missile shield

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[November 08, 2012]  MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia expects President Barack Obama to show more flexibility in a dispute over U.S. missile defense plans following his re-election, the country's deputy prime minister said Thursday.

The controversy over the planned missile shield has strained the relations between the U.S. and Russia. Moscow has rejected Washington's assurances that the shield is intended to fend off potential missile threats from Iran and voiced concern the system could threaten Russia's nuclear deterrent.

In March, Obama, unaware that he was speaking on an open microphone, told Dmitry Medvedev, then Russian president, that he would have more flexibility on the issue after November's election.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin appeared to try to remind Obama of his promise when he said Thursday that Moscow hopes that the U.S. president will take into account Russia's concerns about the U.S.-led NATO missile defense for Europe.

"We hope that President Obama after his re-election will be more flexible on the issue of taking into the account the opinions of Russia and others regarding a future configuration of NATO's missile defense," Rogozin told an international conference in Moscow.

Russia has urged the U.S. to provide guarantees that any future shield is not aimed against it and threatened to target elements of the U.S. shield with missiles if no agreement is reached.

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Thursday the U.S. promises to inform Moscow about details of the shield weren't enough, adding that Moscow will continue pushing for firm guarantees from Washington.

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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