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Poland and U.S. to continue missile shield talks

RIA Novosti

21/07/2008 10:16 WARSAW, July 21 (RIA Novosti) - The Polish Foreign Ministry has said talks between Warsaw and Washington on the possible deployment of elements of a U.S. missile shield in Poland are to continue on Monday.

The Polish RMF FM radio station on Sunday quoted a foreign ministry spokesman as saying that, "Talks will take place between Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Daniel Fried on Monday in Warsaw."

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. The U.S. is planning to link the missile base in Poland with an early warning radar in the Czech Republic. The Czech government has already agreed to the U.S. plans, pending approval by parliament.

At the start of July, Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski was quoted by Polish media as saying that he had concluded preliminary talks on the missile base with the chief U.S. negotiator, John Rood, and passed the results over to Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

However, the foreign ministry spokesman said on Sunday that a declaration to guarantee Polish security had also been prepared as a possible addition to the agreement on the U.S. base. Details of the agreement were not disclosed. The spokesman also noted that the declaration had still to be discussed by the two sides.

Last Wednesday, Sikorski said that Poland was disappointed with Russia's stance over the proposed missile shield. Russia views the possible deployment of the U.S. missile shield as a threat to its national security.

"We are disappointed with Russia's position on the [missile] shield, which is a defense system that would not threaten Russia," he said, adding that he expected the U.S. to help deal with any retaliatory steps taken by Moscow.

Russia's Foreign Ministry said after the U.S. and the Czech Republic signed a deal on the missile shield, that if the treaty becomes legally binding, and U.S. strategic missile defense elements are deployed near Russia's borders, Moscow would be forced to respond with a "military-technical approach" rather than a diplomatic one.

Donald Tusk earlier told reporters: "We approach this issue from the assumption that the missile defense base, on its own, does not strengthen Poland's security. A decision on this must be accompanied by a number of other decisions that will objectively, and materially, improve Poland's security."

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