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Poland defense minister visits Washington

Jan. 15, 2008 at 2:27 PM

WARSAW, Poland, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Polish Defense Minister Bogdan Klich said his talks in Washington will cover a U.S. plan to build a missile shield system in Central Europe.

Klich, scheduled to begin his visit to the United States Tuesday, said his talks with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates will include topics such as Warsaw's plan to withdraw 900 troops from Iraq by October and U.S.-Polish military cooperation, the Polish Radio reported.

The new Polish government of Prime Minister Donald Tusk, installed in mid-November, is not fully supporting the U.S. anti-missile plan and instead is asking for U.S. guarantees for Poland's security.

Last week, Klich said Washington must increase Polish air defense if it wants Warsaw to accept the U.S. missile base on Polish territory.

The U.S. plan to deploy interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar site in the Czech Republic is strongly opposed by Moscow leaders who claim the missile defense system in Central Europe is aimed against Russia.

Washington argues the missile shield is set to defend against missiles fired from such countries as Iran or North Korea.

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