KUNA & Desmond Butler / AP & ennis Cook/ AP – 2008-02-12 00:56:31
Norway Opposed to Deploying
US Missile Defense Shield in EuropeKUNA
OSLO (February 9, 2008) — Norway expressed Saturday its opposition to the deployment of a US missile defense shield in Europe.
Defense Minister Anne-Grete Strom-Erichsen, upon arrival from the NATO conference held in Lithuania, said her country was the only member that publically declared its opposition to the deployment of the shield in Poland or the Czech Republic.
The shield is to protect Europe from long-range missiles launched from Iran or North Korea.
She explained that Norway’s stance stemmed from its belief that NATO countries should defend themselves, and was also based on the Norwegian political stance against bringing any tension to the European continent.
WASHINGTON (February 1, 2008) — Poland said Friday it has reached an agreement in principle with the United States on plans to install a missile defense system on Polish territory.
Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski says that after meetings with U.S. officials, he is satisfied that the United States will deal with security problems that Poland wanted addressed as part of an eventual deal.
The announcement should add momentum to a project the Bush administration has said it hopes to start building this year. The project, a major source of tension with Russia, had looked stalled since the Polish government of Donald Tusk sought new demands after taking office in November.
Sikorski did not outline the terms of the deal, but in a joint appearance with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice after a working lunch, the two officials suggested that the U.S. would help with Polish air defenses, as Poland had sought.
“We understand that there is a desire for defense modernization in Poland, and particularly for air defense modernization in Poland,” Rice said. “This is something that we support because it will make our ally, Poland, more capable, it will make Poland, as the foreign minister has said, more able to operate with us.”
Sikorski said that negotiators would continue to work on the details of an agreement that would allow the U.S. to install 10 interceptors as part of a long- range European missile defense system.
“We are not at the end of the road as regards negotiations. We are in the middle of the road,” he said. “We have an agreement in principle.”
He sought to address concerns about the U.S. air defense aid that are likely to be expressed by Russia, which has already strongly objected to the missile defense plans. Russia has threatened to retarget nuclear missiles at Poland to counter what it sees as a U.S. attempt to undermine the Russian military deterrent.
“The reinforced Polish air defenses are not directed against anybody,” Sikorski said. “They are to enable Poland to be a stronger NATO ally with the United States, to enable Poland to take part in operations, in out-of-area operations, in joint operations.”
But the air defense system that Poland has asked for help in building would seem to be aimed at addressing worries about Russia’s threats. Polish officials have previously expressed interest in acquiring short- and mid-range air defenses—Patriot or THAAD missiles—from the United States.
The United States has dismissed Russian concerns about the proposed long range missile defense system, saying it is intended to protect Western countries from missiles fired from Iran and would be impotent against Russia’s massive arsenal.
“It is true that the United States once had a Strategic Defense Initiative, a program that was intended to deal with the question of the Russian strategic nuclear threat,” Rice said, referring to a Reagan-era program also known as Star Wars. “This is not that program. This is not the son of that program. This is not the grandson of that program.”
If the two sides reach a deal, it would vindicate Tusk and Sikorski’s strategy of asking more from Washington in exchange for Poland’s support in military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the missile defense system.
The previous Polish government of former Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who opened talks early last year, firmly supported the plan without the additional demands.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.
Poland Agrees to US
Missile Defence Plan
Dennis Cook/Associated Press
(February 1, 2008) — Poland’s foreign minister said Friday his country has reached an agreement in principle with the United States on plans to install a U.S. missile defence system in Polish territory.
Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announce an agreement on missile defence on Friday in Washington, D.C.Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announce an agreement on missile defence on Friday in Washington, D.C.
Radek Sikorski said that after his meetings with U.S. officials, he is satisfied that, as part of the eventual deal, the United States will deal with security problems that Poland has raised.
Sikorski did not outline the terms of the deal, but in a joint appearance with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Washington, the two officials suggested the U.S. would help with Polish air defence, as Poland had sought.
Sikorski said that negotiators would continue to work on the details of an agreement that would allow the U.S. to install 10 interceptors as part of a long-range European missile defence system.
Sikorski said other countries should not be alarmed by the agreement, a comment made in anticipation that Russia will be concerned about the U.S. aid for Polish air defence.
“The reinforced Polish air defences are not directed against anybody,” Sikorski said. “They are to enable Poland to be a stronger NATO ally with the United States, to enable Poland to take part in operations, in out-of-area operations, in joint operations.”
© The Canadian Press, 2008
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