US, Poland to sign missile shield deal Wednesday

August 18th, 2008 - 6:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Warsaw, Aug 18 (DPA) An agreement to set up a US missile defence site in Poland will be signed Wednesday, the top Polish diplomat said.Foreign Minister Radowslaw Sikorski and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will sign the deal in Warsaw after negotiators agreed last week that Poland would host a battery of missile interceptors, the Dziennik daily quoted Sikorski Monday as saying.

The deal to establish the first US military base in Poland since the collapse of the Soviet bloc followed more than a year of negotiations and several years of preliminary talks.

As part of the project, the Czech government agreed in July to provide the site for a tracking radar.

The US says the system, designed to destroy incoming ballistic missiles in space, is meant to defend against growing missile threats from nations like Iran and North Korea.

Russia vehemently opposes the shield, saying it is aimed against Moscow’s arsenal of strategic nuclear missiles - a charge the US denies.

Rice will travel to Moscow after a US-requested emergency meeting of NATO nations in Brussels to discuss the alliance’s reaction to Russia’s military intervention in Georgia.

The US-Polish deal “is an important step in our efforts to protect the United States and our European allies from the growing threat posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Sunday.

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