Missile deal with Czech Republic, Poland closer, says US official

Other News Materials 21 February 2008 23:07 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - The United States is getting closer to reaching a deal with the Czech Republic and Poland over controversial plans to site elements of a missile defence system in the former Soviet satellites, a key US official said Thursday.

"We have made significant progress over the last few weeks in negotiations with the countries," Acting Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security John Rood told journalists in Budapest.

"There are no major issues outstanding that are not surmountable," he continued.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek are due in Washington for talks over the next few weeks, and Rood said the missile defence system would be on the agenda.

Rood was heading up a US delegation in the seventh of a series of sometimes-stormy talks with Russia on the plans, which Moscow claims could eventually threaten its own security.

The US claims that the mooted missile-defence system, which is expected to see a radar site in the Czech Republic and a launch site in Poland, is aimed at a possible threat from states such as Iran and North Korea.

While no significant progress was made in the talks with a Russian delegation headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak, Rood said the meeting was part of a long process to help the two nations understand each other's point of view.