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Clinton signs amendment to Bush-era missile shield deal in Poland

RIA Novosti

15:03 03/07/2010

KRAKOW, July 3 (RIA Novosti) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed a technical amendment to a revamped George W Bush-era missile defence shield deal with Poland in Krakow on Saturday.

The agreement, originally reached between Poland and the White House in 2008, was also signed by Clinton’s Polish counterpart Radoslaw Sikorski.

President Barack Obama scrapped plans to construct a major defence shield in Poland and the Czech Republic due to a reassessment of the threat from Iran in September 2009. Russia fiercely opposed the plans as a threat to its national security.

The amendments to the agreement concern a temporary U.S. military base neat the Polish town of Morag, just 80 km (50 miles) from the Russian border. U.S. troops will be deployed to train Polish forces at the site until 2012, when the base is expected to become permanent.

Moscow has said it “does not understand the logic” behind the decision to open the base and has expressed concern over its proximity to Russia.

The United States is also in talks with Bulgaria and Romania on deploying elements of a missile shield on their territories from 2015.

Clinton arrived in Poland from Ukraine and will later head to Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia.

In late April, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said that Moscow was interested in cooperation with NATO on issues of anti-missile defense in Europe.

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