Poland, US resume missile shield talks

Polish and US negotiators resumed talks Wednesday on a proposed US anti-missile shield to be placed in Eastern Europe with the US reportedly bringing a new proposition bringing the two sides closer to an agreement, dpa reported.

The Polish Press Agency said that Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski, after meeting with chief US negotiator John Rood said the US side had brought in the new proposition.

Sikorski, heading the talks in replacing fired top negotiator Witold Waszczykowski, said Poland was negotiating in "good faith," and that an agreement was possible.

Asked if a deal was possible on Thursday, Sikorski replied, "we'll see," PAP reported.

Ahead of the meeting, some commentators had dubbed the latest round the "last-chance talks" after Prime Minister Donald Tusk had rejected the latest US offer on July 4.

Waszczykowski was fired on Monday after he accused the government of stalling on the deal for political gain.

Tusk's government has been bargaining for military aid in exchange for letting the US base 10 interceptor missiles in Poland.

Tusk said his priority are Patriot rockets to be permanently stationed on Polish soil, and strengthened Polish air defence.

The Bush administration has already signed a deal with the Czech government on hosting a radar base as part of the system to be based in the two ex-communist countries.

Russia has strongly opposed the US project, despite assurances from Washington that it would be targeted against ballistic missile threats from nations like Iran, not Russia.

But Polish President Lech Kaczynski said last week that Russia's military assault on Georgia was an argument for joining the US plan.

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