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Polish PM, U.S. vice president talk missile defense

RIA Novosti

04/07/2008 10:23 WARSAW, July 4 (RIA Novosti) - Poland's prime minister held a telephone conversation with U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney on Thursday night to discuss Washington's plans to deploy a missile base on Polish soil, the Polish government's press service said.

The conversation took place after Polish and U.S. officials said on Wednesday that they had reached a tentative agreement on the deployment of 10 interceptor missiles in Poland during two-day talks in Washington.

The government did not give any details of the 40-minute conversation between Donald Tusk and Cheney.

The Polsat News channel said Warsaw is continuing to press ahead with its demands for greater funding on the modernization of its air defenses and compensation for possible base accidents.

The U.S. already gives Poland $27 million per year in military funding, the highest to any European ally, and the Bush administration earlier this year offered an extra $20 million per year.

Washington also wants to put a radar in the Czech Republic as part of its missile shield. The Czech government has agreed to the plan in general, but parliament still needs to approve the deal.

Russia fiercely opposes Washington's missile shield plans for Central Europe as a threat to its security. The United States says the missile shield is needed as protection from possible strikes from "rogue states."

Earlier this week, the United States and ex-Soviet Lithuania, a European Union and NATO member since 2004, admitted holding talks on the possible deployment of the missile interceptor base in the Baltic state if the U.S. deal with Poland falls through.

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