Russia, Poland in deadlock over missile shield
IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency
Moscow, April 10, IRNA
Russia and Poland have failed again to reach an agreement over the proposed US missile base in Central Europe, Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak and his Polish counterpart, Witold Waszczykowski, met on Tuesday in Moscow to discuss US plans to deploy elements of its missile defense system in Poland.
"The new round of Russian-Polish consultations confirmed the presence of serious differences in the approach to the proposed US interceptor missile base in Poland," the ministry said in a statement.
"However, the sides agreed to continue dialogue on the issue," the statement said.
Russia views a planned US missile base in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic as a direct threat to its security and has rejected Washington's assurances that the system has been designed as protection against possible attacks from other states.
On the eve of his current trip to Moscow, Waszczykowski said Warsaw was ready to hold talks with Russia and Washington on the proposed US missile shield if it is deployed in Poland, but reiterated that the issue of Russian military personnel having permanent access to the site was "out of the question."
The idea of allowing Russia to monitor proposed US missile bases in Central Europe was one of the proposals put forward by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates during their talks in Moscow on March 18 with Russia's Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Lavrov said on Tuesday that Russia's main demand for the deployment of a US missile shield in Central Europe was the constant presence of Russian officers and reliable technical monitoring at the proposed US missile bases.
Warsaw hosted the first round of Polish-Russian consultations on Washington's missile shield plans in Central Europe at the beginning of January.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who took office in November last year, said shortly after his election that his government had "no rigid doctrine regarding the deployment of a US missile base in the country," and that the issue was "open to all arguments for and against".
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