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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » June 25, 2008
International Relations
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U.S. Missile Shield in Lithuania?
June 25, 2008   
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The United States is holding talks with Lithuania on the possibility of locating parts of its National Missile Defense shield there if talks with Poland fail, Witold Waszczykowski, Poland's deputy foreign minister responsible for negotiations on the matter, said June 17.

Waszczykowski added that the United States wanted to reach an agreement on the shield before the end of President George W. Bush's term in office. He added that the Americans were looking for an "emergency" solution, and Lithuania's proposal to host parts of the anti-missile shield meets those needs. He also said Poland was still negotiating the matter, awaiting an answer to the question of who would defend the base and whether the anti-missile system would be part of NATO in the future.

As a condition for agreeing to host the anti-missile base, the Polish government wants extra American funding for the Polish armed forces. The U.S. government has refused and says it will seek another site in Europe for parts of the system.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Petras Vaitiekunas has refused to comment. Tom Casey, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, has said that only "general" talks have been held with the Lithuanians. The Pentagon has denied that any detailed negotiations are being held.

America wants to locate parts of the anti-missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic. The United States wants to place 10 interceptor missiles in Poland, while a radar base to guide them is planned for the Czech Republic. A U.S.-Czech agreement is due to be signed in early July.
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