US missile shield chance to develop region: Polish PM

August 26th, 2008 - 11:30 am ICT by IANS  

Warsaw, Aug 26 (DPA) Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has said the US anti-missile shield is not only a military installation, but a chance to develop a northern Polish province that is to host the base.Tusk said that residents near the city of Slupsk should feel the shield is also “a chance to develop the region”, after he met local government officials from the area Monday.

“Everyone who took part in the meeting believes in the possibility of working together,” he told reporters. “We want to unite our efforts, starting from information and ending with money.”

The shield has been widely unpopular among the Polish public, but recent polls suggested a change of mind after Russia’s military actions in Georgia.

Residents of Redzikowo, a small village near the Baltic Sea, have also expressed concern about positioning the system in their neighbourhood.

Mariusz Chmiel, leader of the borough that is to host the shield, recently told Polish Radio that he would use every administrative way to block the controversial anti-missile shield.

Poland recently signed a deal with the US to host 10 missile interceptors on Polish soil in return for a pledge of US military aid, including Patriot air defence missiles.

Russia has fiercely opposed the planned shield, despite US assurances that it was meant as a defence against “rogue states” such as Iran, and not to target Moscow’s strategic arsenal.

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