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Russia, US may reach common ground on missile defense: Russian FM

The consultations between Russia and America on missile defense might see an agreement that considers Russia's interests, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in a meeting with President Vladimir Putin on Monday.

A Russian-American working group on the missile defense, set up under an accord between Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart George W. Bush, meets for the first time on Monday in Washington. The two-day consultations will be held behind closed doors.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak, who is in charge of disarmament, leads the Russian delegation. Representatives of the two countries' defense ministries will attend the meeting. Last week, Lavrov told said at a meeting with Putin and key government members the working group would analyze "the threats in the missile proliferation sphere."

Putin has proposed Russia and the US both use a radar station in Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic, rather than station missile interceptors in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic. Lavrov said he hoped the talks would lead to the implementation of this proposal, although he noted this would take the active engagement of other countries. Bush has described Putin's proposal as "interesting." (