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U.S. missile shield may not be built in Poland - Sikorski

RIA Novosti

05/01/2008 18:11 WARSAW, January 5 (RIA Novosti) - Poland's foreign minister has said he can see no threat coming from Iran and does not rule out that a U.S. missile-defense base in his country may not be built after all.

In an interview with Gazeta Wyborcza, Radoslaw Sikorski said that the worst-case scenario for Warsaw would be if it agreed to the deployment of a U.S. base on its soil, paying a political price, but then a new administration would come to power in the United States, and the base would not be built.

A Russian delegation, led by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak, will visit Warsaw on January 10, 2008 to discuss the U.S. missile shield plans.

"Needless to say, we will listen carefully to [Russia's] arguments. That is what diplomacy is all about," he said, adding that the U.S. was also intensively discussing the missile defense system with Russia.

"The U.S. side has assured Warsaw that it will dispel Russia's concerns. But that has yet to be done," he said.

Washington wants to place a radar in the Czech Republic and 10 missile interceptors in Poland, purportedly to counter a missile threat from Iran and other "rogue" states. Moscow has responded angrily to the plans, saying the European shield would destroy the strategic balance of forces and threaten Russia's national interests.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has slammed a warning from the Russian military chief of staff that a possible U.S. anti-missile launch from Poland could provoke a Russian counterattack.

Gen. Yury Baluyevsky has said that the launch of a missile from a U.S. anti-missile system in Poland could be misread by Moscow's automated missile warning systems and could trigger a counterattack by Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Russia has offered the U.S. use of radar stations at Gabala in Azerbaijan, and Armavir in south Russia, as alternatives to missile shield deployment in Central Europe. Washington said, though, it could use these radars only as additional components of the European shield.


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