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

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs