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Russia may 'freeze' adoptions if no agreement

MOSCOW - Russia may "freeze" adoptions of children by U.S. citizens if the two countries fail to reach an agreement regulating the practice, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday.

Russia announced a suspension of adoptions last week after a 7-year-old boy was sent back alone to Moscow by his adoptive American mother earlier this month. President Dmitry Medvedev, during a visit to the United States last week, said adoptions may be banned after the "monstrous act."

Russia "insists that further adoptions be carried out under a bilateral agreement with the U.S., which we're prepared to work on with the American side," the Foreign Ministry said on its Web site Monday. "If our partners show a desire to reach such an agreement, this will allow us to avoid freezing the process of adoption by U.S. citizens. We see no other options for resolving the situation."

Adoption talks, scheduled to begin in Moscow today, were postponed by flight disruptions caused by a cloud of volcanic ash from Iceland, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Igor Lyakin-Frolov said by telephone in Moscow.

The U.S. has received "no official notification" of an adoption halt, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow said in an e-mailed statement.- Bloomberg News

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