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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » October 28, 2009
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Poland Signs Up For New U.S. Shield
October 28, 2009   
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Poland is ready to take part in a new American missile shield system, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said during a visit by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden Oct. 21 that aimed to improve Washington's relations in the region.

Biden's trip to Europe, which also took in Bucharest and Prague, aimed to reassure America's allies in the region that Washington remained committed to their security. President Barack Obama's decision to scrap earlier plans for a missile defense shield caused anger and alarm here. Parts of former U.S. President George W. Bush's earlier missile shield system were to have been based in Poland and the Czech Republic, where many had pinned their hopes on the shield cementing ties with Washington.

Biden told Polish President Lech Kaczyński and Tusk that Poland was an important ally for the United States and that the Obama administration's new proposal for a missile shield system was beneficial for Poland and NATO. Kaczyński said the talk with Biden "filled him with optimism" and that he was now convinced that Poland's international security was assured.

Tusk said that the United States views Poland as a partner that was expected to be "active and responsible" internationally. The Obama administration has proposed that Poland host land-based SM-3 interceptor missiles, which are to be a key element in the new system of defense against any short- and medium-range missile attack from Iran.

Biden described Poland as a model for countries which are not NATO members. He added the United States appreciated the participation and sacrifice of Polish troops in foreign missions. At the end of his visit, Biden met soldiers who had served in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina together with U.S. troops. He thanked the troops for their commitment and praised them for their bravery and professionalism.
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