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US Sees No Link Between CFE Suspension And Missile Shield

Bush And Polish Leader Disuss Missile Defense Plan
Washington (AFP) July 16 - US President George W. Bush and Polish President Lech Kaczynski on Monday vowed to press ahead with a planned US missile shield on Russia's doorstep despite Moscow's angry objections. The two leaders, meeting at the White House, insisted as they have in the past that the system was not aimed at Russia but at smaller countries that US officials say pose a missile threat, like Iran or North Korea. "There's no better symbol of our desire to work for peace and security than working on a missile defense system," Bush said as they held talks in the Oval Office. Bush said the deployment "would provide a security for Europe from single- or dual-launch regimes that may emanate from parts of the world where leaders don't particularly care for our way of life and/or are in the process of trying to develop serious weapons of mass destruction."

Washington wants to site 10 interceptor missiles in Poland as part of an extended defense shield against airborne attacks, along with a powerful tracking radar in the Czech Republic. "So it is really a defense instrument, missile defense instrument. And so I do hope that all this project, the whole project will be completed successfully," Kaczynski said through an interpreter. Russian President Vladimir Putin has never been mollified by that argument, and the Kremlin announced Saturday that he had signed a decree suspending Moscow's participation in a key post-Cold War security treaty.

Bush and Kaczynski also discussed US requirements that Poles traveling to the United States need a visa -- a sore point between the two allies, as Poland wants that requirement lifted. "It is in the hands of the Congress," said the Polish leader. "So we are looking forward to positive changes in this area." "I will continue to work with Congress to change a law that needs to be changed," said Bush. The US Senate earlier this year approved legislation adding Poles to the list of foreign nationals exempted from needing a visa to enter the United States, in recognition of Poland's support for the Iraq war and its European Union membership. Poles and other foreigners wishing to travel to the United States under the amended visa-free regime, which has yet to be approved by the US House of Representatives, need to have biometric passports.

by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Jul 17, 2007
The United States denied Monday any cause and effect between Russia's suspension of a treaty limiting conventional forces in Europe and US plans for an anti-missile shield in Europe. "I am not sure I get the linkage between the CFE and missile defense," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters. "I would put to you that the Russian issue, shall we say, with the CFE treaty extends well back before anybody ever thought about missile defense in Europe," he said, alluding to a 1999 Istanbul summit.

The Kremlin announced Saturday that President Vladimir Putin had decreed suspension of Russia's application of the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty.

The CFE treaty, which came into force in 1992, is one of the key post-Cold War security accords in Europe.

It limits deployments of tanks and troops in NATO and in former Warsaw Pact countries and lays down measures aimed at confidence-building, transparency and cooperation between member states.

Russia had threatened several times to pull out of the treaty amid unease over US military encroachment into territory once part of the former Soviet bloc.

Moscow particularly objected to US plans to place elements of a missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Moscow reproached NATO countries that have not ratified the 1999 revision of the CFE treaty agreed in Istanbul to account for dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, which unified the defense of the Soviet Union with socialist countries in Eastern Europe, including Poland, Bulgaria and Hungary.

NATO countries refused to ratify the new version until Moscow agreed to withdraw the Red Army from Georgia and Moldova in compliance with the 1999 Istanbul agreement.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Russia Gives Up Ukraine Missile Radars, US Says Azerbaijan No Substitute For Poland
Moscow (AFP) July 12, 2007
Russia plans to abandon two missile defence bases in Ukraine, including one 700 kilometers (430 miles) away from a planned US radar site that Moscow opposes, a top Russian daily reported Thursday. The Russian government has submitted a draft bill to the lower house of parliament that would end an agreement under which Moscow finances the bases for around 1.3 million dollars (940,000 euros) per year, Vedomosti reported.

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