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UPDATED: 13:41, May 01, 2007
Poland expects extra safeguards on anti-missile shield issue: FM
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Polish Foreign Minister Anna Fotyga said Poland expected extra safeguards from allies in connection with the establishment of a U.S. anti-missile shield on its territory, the Polish PAP news agency reported on Monday.

Fotyga said the extra safeguards should include a clear evaluation of potential threats, a specification on the base's nature and category, related deals on the base's establishment and the system's deployment and cooperation agreements on military and national defense.

The U.S. administration made a formal offer in January to the Czech Republic and Poland to open talks on the shield. Under the proposal, Poland would be the base for underground rocket silos and the Czech Republic would host the radar system. The operation is expected to start from 2011.

Russia has repeatedly criticized the U.S. proposal, saying it will harm regional security, but Washington argues that it will only target possible missile threats from Iran and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea(DPRK).

Fotyfa said Poland needed assurance that the anti-missile shield would certainly enhance the security of Poland, the United States and the international community in order to dispel doubts among ordinary Poles.

According to a public opinion survey released by the PAP last week, 57 percent of the respondents were against the deployment of the shield in Poland, up by 25 percent from 2005. Some 25 percent supported the plan and 18 percent were undecided.

Last month, responding to a Polish request for Patriot air defense batteries as an extra safeguard, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that it was up to NATO to decide whether Poland can receive such systems in connection with the location of the shield.

Source: Xinhua

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