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Polish PM says no decision yet on U.S. missile shield

RIA Novosti

13/05/2008 17:42 WARSAW, May 13 (RIA Novosti) - Warsaw is not yet satisfied with U.S. proposals to modernize the Polish army in exchange for the placement of a U.S. missile base in Poland, the prime minister said on Tuesday.

Poland and the United States have been engaged in protracted talks over a U.S. request to place 10 interceptor missiles in northern Poland as part of a U.S. missile shield for Europe and North America against possible attacks from "rogue states" including Iran.

"Our position has not changed," Donald Tusk told a news conference. "We will allow the shield on our territory only when the United States comes up with an offer that satisfies the Polish army's demands [for modernization]."

A U.S. delegation arrived in Warsaw last Tuesday for a new round of talks with an official proposal for modernizing Poland's armed forces. However, Poland considers the $20 million that the U.S. has pledged in financial assistance to be insufficient.

"So far, the U.S. proposals have failed to reach a level that would satisfy Polish demands," Tusk said.

Last week, a high-ranking U.S. administration official said that if negotiations with Poland fail, the United States will consider other options for deploying a missile defense system.

"The U.S. has total freedom in making such decisions," Tusk said, adding that Poland also has the right to put forward its own demands and insist on them.

The Pentagon's missile shield deployment plans continue to be a major bone of contention in relations between the U.S. and Russia, which considers the project a threat to its national security. Washington has proposed a range of measures to ease Russian concerns.

However, Russia is insisting on the permanent deployment of Russian personnel at the proposed facilities in Poland and the Czech Republic. An agreement has yet to be reached on the issue.

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