Poland, US agree on missile shield termsJuly 3rd, 2008 - 8:05 pm ICT by IANS
Warsaw, July 3 (RIA Novosti) Poland and the US have reached an agreement on the deployment of an American missile base in Poland, a Polish TV channel reported. Both the countries have been engaged in talks over a plan to place 10 interceptor missiles in northern Poland as part of a US missile shield for Europe and North America against possible attacks from “rogue states”.
Polish TVN24 television cited Wednesday Deputy Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski as saying that he had concluded preliminary talks with the chief US negotiator John Rood in Washington and passed the message to Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski.
Washington officials have already expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the two-day talks and said they were waiting for final approval of the plans from Warsaw.
Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Daniel Fried, said: “We are very satisfied with the way we left things and we want to hear the next words, the next stages, from Warsaw.”
Poland apparently managed to strike a good bargain with the US on the modernisation of its armed forces, mainly its air force and air defence, with financing to be provided by Washington, in exchange for agreeing to the placement of the US base on its territory.
Warsaw is mainly interested in the US short-and-medium-range missile systems, such as Patriot PAC-3, THAAD and ground-based AMRAAM.
Prime Minister Donald Tusk earlier told reporters: “We approach this issue from the assumption that the missile defence 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.”
The US provides $27 million to Poland annually in military funding, the highest to any European ally. Earlier this year, the Bush administration offered an extra $20 million per year. However, Poland insisted that the amount was still not enough.
Russia is strongly opposed to the deployment of the US missile shield on the ground that it is a threat to its national security.