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UPDATED: 11:23, May 25, 2007
Polish official optimistic about talks with U.S. on missile defense base
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Poland and the United States have reached consensus on many issues related to the establishment of a U.S. missile defense base in Poland and their talks will likely be completed in early fall, Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said on Thursday.

Waszcykowski made the comments at a news conference after holding talks in Warsaw with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State John Rood.

"This meeting today brings optimism to us because many of our observations and reflections are shared and were responded to by our American partners," Waszczykowski said, adding that a final deal could come in early fall.

The United States responded to many concerns Poland raised over the missile defense system and he said he is very optimistic about the prospect of the talks.

Rood, who came to Warsaw to discuss placing 10 interceptor rockets on Polish soil, echoed Waszcykowski's view.

He said the meeting is "very constructive and fruitful."

"The talks were held in a spirit of partnership. The U.S. proposal to place elements of the U.S. anti-missile defense system in Poland is designed to tighten Polish-U.S. cooperation in defense and in security," he said.

"There is still a lot to discuss but after today's talks I am very optimistic that we will come to a conclusion," Rood said.

He also reiterated that the plan to build a U.S. missile defense base in Poland would pose no threat to Russia, and that Washington is ready to cooperate and consult with Moscow over the issue.

Rood added that the system is "purely a defense system" and would in no way target Russia.

The United States is planning to install parts of its missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic, a move strongly opposed by Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin warned earlier that the project could trigger a new arms race.

"The interceptor missiles that would be installed in Poland could not be used against Russia," he said.

Washington is ready to cooperate with Moscow and discuss moves regarding the anti-missile defense system, Rood said.

On Jan. 20, the United States proposed the installation of parts of its anti-missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic.

The United States claims the system is aimed at resisting threat from nations such as Iran, and Russia is not a target of the system. But Russia says it is a threat to its security.

Source: Xinhua

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