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No plans for missile shield talks with Russia - Polish president

RIA Novosti

28/05/2007 16:21 WARSAW, May 28 (RIA Novosti) - Poland has no intention of conducting a discussion with Russia on the proposed deployment of a U.S. missile defense base on its territory, Poland's president said in an interview Monday.

The United States has earlier announced plans to deploy a missile tracking radar system in the Czech Republic, and is in talks with Poland to place 10 missile interceptors on its territory as part of a U.S. missile shield that Washington says would protect NATO countries against a potential threat from Iran and North Korea.

"We will certainly not talk with Russia [on the missile shield]," President Lech Kaczynski said in an interview with Mlada fronta Dnes, a Czech newspaper. "It [this issue] is between us and the United States."

Russia, infuriated by the idea of a U.S. missile shield in the territories of its former ally states, has repeatedly condemned the plan, claiming that it could be a "destabilizing factor" and threaten Russia's national security. Moscow has warned that "appropriate measures" would be taken in response.

Russia's foreign minister reiterated last Tuesday the U.S. plans would jeopardize not only Russia, but the whole of Europe.

However, the U.S. and NATO insist that the plans are not directed against Russia.

On the backdrop to deteriorating relations between Moscow and Warsaw, Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski said in late February that the deployment of U.S. missile elements would guarantee that his country would not fall under Russia's influence at least in the next few decades.

Official talks between the United States and Poland on the deployment of a U.S. missile defense base began in Warsaw last Thursday and the parties are planning to draft an agreement by the fall of this year.

Polish TV channel TVP1 said the United States will deploy a missile defense base with a total of 10 interceptor missiles in underground silos near the village of Wicko Morskie, between the towns of Ustka and Darlowo, on the Baltic Sea coast.

The Pentagon earlier said the interceptor base will require facilities for electronic equipment for secure communications, missile assembly, storage, maintenance, and security.

Lech Kaczynski said Monday the ballistic missile defense interceptors that would be installed are for purely defensive purposes and have no offensive capability.

The Polish president said he hoped that the visit by U.S. President George W. Bush to Poland on June 8 would help to convince the Polish population that the decision to allow the U.S. to deploy its missile defense base in Poland was correct.

Commenting on Russia's ambitions and interests in relations with former Soviet allies, Kaczynski said that there will be no "new Warsaw Pact or Comecon [former organizations of the eastern bloc] in the future."

"Russia must get used to this idea," he said.

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