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U.S., Polish envoys mull security accord

Jan. 16, 2008 at 1:50 PM

WARSAW, Poland, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- A Polish Cabinet minister said Washington agreed to consider a security accord with Warsaw in exchange for stationing a U.S. anti-missile defense in Poland.

Following talks with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates in Washington, Polish Defense Minister Bogdan Klich said U.S. officials are willing to begin negotiations on new Polish policy regarding a U.S. plan to deploy the missile interceptor system, Polish Radio reported Wednesday.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who took the office in November, reversed to some extent the policy of the previous government that fully supported the U.S. missile shield plan.

Klich told Gates a planned U.S. missile base in Poland must be balanced by relevant benefits. Tusk has asked for U.S. guarantees for Poland's security.

U.S. leaders said they are ready to discuss signing a bilateral security agreement with Poland, Klich said, adding Washington would also help modernize Polish armed forces.

The U.S. plan to build the anti-missile shield in Central Europe, with missile interceptors based in Poland and a radar site in neighboring Czech Republic, is strongly opposed by Russia.

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