UPI Senior News Analyst
Washington (SPX) Mar 01, 2007
The Bush administration is getting what appear to be mixed signals from Poland about its plans to deploy anti-ballistic missile interceptor defenses on Polish soil. On the one hand, Polish Foreign Minister Anna Fotyga cautioned Monday during a visit to the Armenian capital Yerevan that negotiations about putting a U.S. BMD base on Polish soil could take years.
"The United States has proposed building a missile defense base on our territory, but the negotiating process could last several years, because various technical, legislative and other issues are involved," Fotyga said according to a report from the RIA Novosti news agency.
"All I can say with certainty is that during the discussions, we will prioritize Poland's security, and then the security of Europe and the world," she said.
But other reports coming out of Warsaw have been much more positive from the U.S. point of view.
RIA Novosti also reported that Elzbieta Jakubiak, chief of the Polish presidential administration, said Saturday that Polish President Lech Kaczynski planned to study the BMD base plan with the nation's Security Council before March 5.
"Poland formally agreed last Friday to start detailed negotiations with the U.S. on the deployment of parts of the missile shield on its territory," RIA Novosti said.
Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski has also maintained a strongly supportive approach to the idea of deploying U.S. BMD assets on Polish territory. In remarkably outspoken comments on Feb. 20, he welcomed the prospect of playing host to a U.S. ballistic missile defense interceptor base and said that the deployment of U.S.-built interceptors in Poland would guarantee that Warsaw would no longer be under Russia's sphere of influence.
"We are talking about the status of Poland and about Russia's hopes that Poland will once again come under its (Moscow's) sphere of influence," Kaczynski said.
Although Poland is now an enthusiastic member of both the U.S.-led NATO alliance and the European Union, Kaczynski said his country could still hypothetically face the possibility of Russia exerting direct pressure on it, or creating conditions under which Poland was forced to respond to Russia's wishes, RIA Novosti reported.
"But following the deployment of a missile defense base here, the chances of such undue influence arising will be greatly reduced for at least several decades," Kaczynski said, according to the report.
The pattern of statements from the senior Polish officials and politicians suggests that the government in Warsaw is still strongly supportive of the idea of seeing the U.S. BMD base built on its territory, but that it anticipates having to weather a lot of delays, pressure from Russia and internal debate before that can happen.
earlier related report
"Indeed, it would be technically impossible for any such system to have a significant impact on Russian capabilities," he told reporters after chairing a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council on defence and military co-operation during the period 2008 to 2012. The council, which brings together officials from the 26-nation alliance and Moscow, held a one-day meeting in the former Soviet republic Lithuania, which joined NATO in 2004.
Washington's plan to establish a radar station in the Czech Republic and an underground missile silo in Poland has sparked an angry reaction from Moscow, which is wary of US encroachment in its communist-era stamping ground.
Noting Russia's concerns, Colston stressed "the commitment of the United States to ensuring the fullest possible transparency in relation to their plans."
The United States has stressed that the defence shield is not directed against Russia but is intended to protect against attack from countries such as Iran or North Korea.
Colston said that the same would go for any new NATO system.
"What we are considering is designed solely to deal with the potential for an attack from states choosing to threaten the use of weapons of mass destruction," he said.
The United States is the prime mover in NATO, but its talks with the Czech Republic and Poland -- which joined in 1999 -- fall outside the scope of the alliance.
However, Colston said, NATO is pondering linking its own missile defense to the planned US system.
"I am sure that one of the major factors which the alliance is to take into account this year is the possible interaction between the US missile system, potentially based in Europe, with a possible NATO system. But no decisions have been taken yet," he said.
Speaking in an interview with German newspaper Handelsblatt, pro-Russian Yanukovych said: "This (shield) will not help bilateral relations."
That provoked an angry response from the pro-western Yushchenko.
"The deployment of the antimissile shield is the sovereign right of each country," he told a televised press conference.
"Ukrainian officials must not so readily give responses ... concerning this question."
Last month the Pentagon announced it would begin formal talks with Poland and the Czech Republic on deploying an anti-missile system in these countries, which is designed to intercept potential attacks from Iran and North Korea.
Plans to build an underground missile silo in Poland have already divided the Ukrainian government, with pro-Russian elements seeing it as a threat.
On the other hand, Yushchenko and his supporters, who are seeking NATO membership for Ukraine, are in favour of the shield provided it is used to protect Europe and not solely America.
Last week US defence officials announced plans to visit Ukraine at the beginning of March to explain installation details.
Source: United Press International
Source: Agence France-Presse
Email This ArticleLockheed Martin Awarded $979,175,217 Dollars To Build Better Signal Processor For Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense
Moorestown NJ, February 27, 2007
The U.S. Department of Defense's Missile Defense Agency (MDA) today awarded Lockheed Martin $979,175,217 for continued development and evolution of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) Weapon System.
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