U.S., Poland deal on missile defense within months

Negotiators voiced optimism Thursday that they could reach agreement for Poland to host part of a U.S. missile defense system. A Polish official said a deal could come in the next several months.

U.S., Poland deal on missile defense within months
Negotiators voiced optimism Thursday that they could reach agreement for Poland to host part of a U.S. missile defense system. A Polish official said a deal could come in the next several months.

"This meeting today brings optimism to us because many of our observations and reflections are shared and were responded to by our American partners," said Polish deputy foreign minister Witold Waszczykowski.

John Rood, U.S. assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation, called Thursday's second round of talks "very constructive and fruitful."

A first round of talks was held last week focusing on so-called status of forces issues, meaning the legal status of the base and its personnel, how they are treated and what their legal responsibility would be on Polish territory.

The next round is slated for late June in Washington, Waszczykowski said, adding that Warsaw would present "concrete proposals." He predicted that an agreement could come in early fall.

Russian President ladimir Putin said Wednesday that he remains firmly opposed to the U.S. plan to place parts of a missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic, two former Soviet satellite countries in eastern Europe.

Washington insists that the system is not aimed at Russia, and would in fact be ineffective against Russia's huge stockpile of missiles. Instead, the system would protect most of Europe from missiles launched from ran, which the U.S. says is pursuing nuclear weapons.

"Poland shares many of America's assessments of global threats," Waszczykowski said. "Combatting missile programs deserves Poland's full attention."

Meanwhile, the presidents of 16 European countries were to meet in southeastern Czech Republic on Friday and Saturday to discuss the planned missile system and Kosovo.

The U.S. missile defense system plan was "a possible topic for discussion," Czech President Vaclav Klaus said Wednesday.

Last Mod: 25 Mayıs 2007, 14:32
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