" USA, Poland Still Failing to Agree on Missile Shield Placement" – Experts

Azerbaijan, Baku, 7 July / Trend corr E.Tariverdiyeva, V.Zhavoronkova/ United States and Poland still fail to agree on placement of missile defence system in Poland, as Washington thinks Warsaw's financial claims unacceptable.

"Current demands to modernise the Polish military and beef up its air defences with a system similar to the Patriot missiles appear far too expensive to the USA," Jean-Marc Rickli, President of the Geneva University Strategic Studies Group, said to Trend .

On 4 July, Washington and Warsaw were reported not to agree on placement of American missile defence system in Poland. Poland rejected USA's terms, while Washington in its turn refused to meet Warsaw's financial demands.

Rickli thinks it is possible to use other territory for placement of American missile shield, instead of Poland. According to the expert, geographically the two countries (the Czech Republic and Lithuania) are neighbours and therefore the location issue does not affect the effectiveness of the planned US missile defence. "From the American perspective recent declarations by Pentagon officials about the Lithuanian option should also be regarded as a bargaining chip in their negotiation with Poland. The USA want to show that they have fallback options in case the Poles would raise the stakes too high," Rickli said.

"Both Poland and Lithuania are members of NATO and since NATO agreed on US missile defence in its Bucharest summit but did not show an interest for a specific establishment in Poland, Lithuania appears as a credible option. Furthermore the Poles feel that their former supports to the Bush government (e.g. Sending troops in Iraq and Afghanistan) were not rewarded accordingly," said Rickli.

Russian military expert Pavel Felgenhauer thinks Poland's refusal and USA's discontent about Warsaw's financial claims were predictable. "American Generals used to say in case of a failure in negotiations with Poland, they would place radar in Czechia and later may ponder over placement of their antimissiles in other European countries," Felgenhauer said to Trend in a telephonic talk on 5 July.

According to Felgenhauer, at NATO's recent Bucharest summit in April it was decided to consider an opportunity to make missile defence system in Europe not as a pure American project, but as a joint NATo project. " Poland indeed asked for huge money and that awfully irrigated Pentagon, since anyway in 2009 United States will have to cut its military budget," expert said.

Felgenhauer said many American military generals do not approve of placement of missile defence system in Europe at all. "They carry out many military operations Iraq, Afghanistan and they have the place where to spend money. So, United States thinks it is impossible to meet Pole's request, giving them several billions," expert said.

"But the anti-missile complex which is expected to be set up in Poland has not passed testing. Therefore, there is much time. In case of the project becomes a joint NATO project, Poland will reduce its claims. And if Obama comes to the White House, the project will be generally frozen," said Felgenhauer.

The military expert of Azerbaijan Uzeyir Jafarov believes that question of placing missile shield in Czechia and Lithuania is still outstanding. "US never make a decision in a rush. I think there will be missile shield in Czechia and Poland and this issue will be solved positively by the end of July," Jafarov said to Trend by telephone.

In the near future US will seriously deal with the joint use of Gabala RS with Russia, expert said. "I do not believe in refusal of Russia in 2010 though commander Outer Space Forces of Russia colonel-general Vladimir Popovski stated that Russia plans to transfer all missile shield located in former Soviet republics to the CIS space, that is to its own territory," expert said.

US plans to place 10 interceptors in Poland and missile shield in Czechia.

The talks between the two countries last a year and half, beyond the expectations of US. Russia opposes missile shield in Europe claiming that these facilities will pose a threat for its security.

Washington says that the missile shield will not pose a threat for Russia, but it is necessary to prevent the possible attack by Iran and North Korea.

Poland demands considerable amount of funds from US to modernize its army. Earlier Poland demanded $20bln. The Polish officials say that US can pay this amount in 11 years. Furthermore, one of the key demands of Warsaw is the handing over Patriot 3 anti-aircraft complexes to Poland.

The correspondent can be contacted at [email protected]

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