Russia, Poland to continue talks on US missile shield in Europe

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Moscow, Jan 11 (UNI) Russia and Poland have agreed to continue to exchange opinions on the issue of US plans to deploy elements of missile shield in Europe, before taking any final decisions.

''Discussions promoted an understanding of our respective positions. The sides agreed that it is useful to continue honest exchange of opinions before taking decisions on sensitive security issues,'' Russian Foreign Misnitry said in a statement today, referring to the talks of Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak on the issue with his Polish counterparts in Warsaw yesterday.

US plans to deploy interceptor missiles in Poland have soured relations between the two countries in recent months.

The continuing US negotiations with Poland recently hit a snag when Warsaw declared it does not see Iran as a danger.

Moscow has angrily opposed the US plans to deploy elements of missile defence in Poland and the Czech Republic, claiming it threatens Russian security.

The Czech Republic and Poland are in no mood of either speeding up or dragging feet in the talks with the US on the deployment of ballistic missile defence (BMD) components, Czech and Polish Prime Ministers, Miroslav Topolanek and Donald Tusk, said at a press conference in Prague yesterday.

Stressing that neither side wanted to waste time, Mr Tusk said the main thing was to find a variant beneficial for both Poland and the Czech Republic.

''If the talks take much time, the result naturally will be achieved later. But this is in no way connected with the end of US President George W Bush's term of office,'' Itar-Tass news agency quoted him as saying.

Mr Tusk also said that one of his aims during the visit to Prague was to brief the Czech leadership on the Polish stance concerning the BMD issue, security guarantees and the project's financing.

UNI XC SKB VC1932

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