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Russia Hopes for U.S. Flexibility on Missile Shield

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said Thursday that Russia expects President Barack Obama to show more flexibility in a dispute over U.S. missile defense plans following his re-election.

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 then-President Dmitry Medvedev that he would have more flexibility on the issue after November's election.

Speaking at an international conference Thursday, Rogozin appeared to try to remind Obama of his promise.

"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 said.

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.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Thursday that 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.

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