US remains committed to Poland on missile defence site
US: ‘We expect to see them based in Poland’
Washington -- The United States remain committed to reaching a deal with Poland on the deployment of a missile defence system, the US State Department confirmed.
The negotiations for the stationing of 10 missile interceptors in Poland have been bogged down by Warsaw's demands for increased military aid but department deputy spokesman Tom Casey was optimistic over a deal being reached soon.
"The main thing is we're in negotiations with the Poles, we're not in negotiations with anybody else, and if you want to know where we expect to see those 10 interceptors based, we expect to see them based in Poland," Casey said.
The United States has not ruled out alternate countries if a deal cannot be worked out with Poland. Lithuania has been the focus of speculation and the Baltic state has said it is open to the idea. Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas is to meet with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Wednesday.
Casey said, however, that the United States are not in negotiations with any other countries. Washington has completed a deal with the Czech Republic to host the radar site but is still awaiting the approval of the Czech parliament.
Since taking office in November, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has increased demands on Washington for military assistance in return for the placing of the interceptors. The countries have since begun negotiating a separate agreement for military assistance that could include improvements to Poland's air defences.
Russia strongly opposes a long range US missile defence system in Eastern Europe and has threatened to target the bases with its own missiles.
The United States maintain that the limited system does not pose a threat to Russia's massive fleet of nuclear missiles.