News / Europe

US, Poland, Sign Revised Missile-Defense Accord

Secretary of State Clinton says revised program will make system operational sooner than one promoted by Bush administration, will pose no threat to Russia

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (file photo)
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (file photo)

The United States and Poland Saturday signed an amended agreement under which U.S. missile interceptors, aimed against a developing Iranian threat, will be based on Polish soil. Secretary of State Clinton said the revised program will make a system operational sooner than one promoted by the Bush administration, and will pose no threat to Russia.

The Obama administration shelved a European missile defense plan devised by its predecessor that would have stationed missile interceptors, still under development, in Poland and a related radar system in the Czech Republic.

The amended agreement, signed in Krakow in an event witnessed by Secretary Clinton and Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, will include the basing in Poland of U.S. "Standard-Three" interceptor missiles, a system already deployed on U.S. Navy ships and readily adaptable to ground basing.

Polish authorities were widely reported to have been unhappy with the withdrawal of the Bush administration plan, which had caused friction in Poland's relationship with Russia.

But at a press event Clinton after the signing ceremony, Polish Foreign Minister Sikorski said Warsaw is pleased with the amended plan.

"When President Obama announced the new configuration of the system, we did say that we liked the new configuration better. But I think you didn't believed us. Well, I hope now that we have signed the annex, I hope you do believe us, because it's based on existing technology and therefore it's more likely to be built and to be effective. And it is capable of protecting NATO, and Poland, and the United States of course, from a bigger range of threats," said Sikorski.

Clinton said the revised program will be operational years sooner than the one envisioned by the Bush administration, and unlike the predecessor has been fully embraced by NATO allies.

On continued Russian objections to U.S. missile defense in Europe on grounds it undermines Moscow's strategic deterrence,  Clinton said it is purely defensive and is neither directed against nor threatens Russia.

She said the United States hopes Moscow will eventually take part in a regional defense against what she termed a "common threat" posed by Iran, but said Russia to date has refused to cooperate.

"Russia has not accepted that offer but the offer stands. And the United States is beginning discussions with Russia to explore whether there are any circumstances the United States and Russia could work together on radar development and deployment, or any other aspect of missile defense. We welcome that. We've encouraged that. Thus far there has not been a willingness by Russia to respond positively. But the door is open," she said.

Clinton, on a five-nation trip to central Europe and the Caucasus region, attended events here marking the tenth anniversary of the Community of Democracies, a U.S.-Polish initiative.

In a policy speech, she stressed the importance of civil society and non-governmental organizations to democratic development. Clinton warned of what she termed a "steel vice" of restrictions against NGO's by some 50 countries around the world, including Zimbabwe, Cuba, Venezuela, Ethiopia and Belarus.

She completes the current trip with stops in Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid