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Jan 18, 8:01 AM EST

Official: Russia could end ban on US adoptions

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MOSCOW (AP) -- The speaker of Russia's upper house of parliament said Wednesday Moscow is willing to open discussions about rescinding the ban on Americans adopting Russian children.

The ban was imposed in 2012, prompted by a U.S. law sanctioning some Russians identified as human-rights violators.

Russia was a popular country for prospective adoptive parents who could not find suitable children in the United States. More than 1,000 adoption attempts were estimated to be in progress when the ban took effect.

Russians had long bristled at the implication the country could not care properly for its children, and complained about children who died after being adopted.

"We are ready for dialogue," upper house speaker Valentina Matvienko said Wednesday, saying the ban could end if the U.S. guarantees the welfare of Russian adoptees.

A day earlier, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Russia must pay damages and legal costs to Americans who were barred from adopting Russian children. Russia has three months to appeal.

The case was brought by 45 Americans who had been in the final stages of the adoption process. Many of the children they planned to adopt had serious health issues.

The human rights court said it awarded 3,000 euros ($3,180) in damages plus $600 (565 euros) in legal costs to each pair of prospective parents, according to a news release.

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