Poland against permanent Russian presence at US missile baseApril 3rd, 2008 - 11:54 am ICT by admin
Moscow, April 3 (RIA Novosti) Poland will not agree to the permanent presence of Russian military observers at a proposed US missile base on its territory, the Polish foreign minister has said.
The idea of allowing Russians to monitor the proposed US missile bases in central Europe was one of the proposals forwarded by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defence Secretary Robert Gates, during their talks in Moscow March 18 with Russia’s Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
“We will not allow the permanent presence of Russian military officers at a US missile base (in Poland), but they will be able to conduct temporary inspections and monitoring,” Radoslaw Sikorski said in an interview with the Polish Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper Wednesday.
The minister reiterated Poland has not yet decided whether to allow the placement of a US missile interceptor base on its territory.
“We are ready to expedite this process, but only after reaching a consensus (with the US) on some conditions that I am not going to divulge,” he said.
The US administration earlier said it backed Warsaw’s request for aid in modernising its missile defences.
The US plans to deploy 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic citing a threat from Iran and other “rogue states”, while Russia views these plans as a destabilising factor for Europe and a threat to its national security.
Poland’s new government led by Donald Tusk, which came to power in November last year, has taken a more cautious approach to the US proposal than former prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s cabinet, which fully supported the plan.
Sikorski said Poland would not share the cost of the construction of a missile base with the US.
In his 2009 budget proposal, US President George W. Bush requested $96 million for development of missile shield elements, $382.6 million for deployment of complexes in Poland and the Czech Republic, and $241.2 million for construction works.
However, the US Congress said it would not allow the Bush administration to spend the allocated budget for construction of the missile defence infrastructure in Poland and the Czech Republic in 2008, unless Washington signed bilateral agreements with these countries.