Missile shield signing "important day" for Poland: Kaczynski

Other News Materials 20 August 2008 00:12 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Polish President Lech Kaczynski addressed the nation Tuesday night, speaking of the "important day" in Polish history as US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice landed in Warsaw for an upcoming signing of a US missile shield agreement.

Rice is slated to meet with Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski to sign a deal on Wednesday placing a US anti-missile shield in Poland in exchange for aid to the Polish military.

"The shield as a purely defensive installation isn't aimed at anyone," Kaczynski said. "Thus nobody who has good intentions towards us, or the Western world, should fear it."

"Nobody can dictate to Poland what it should do. Those times are over," he said. "And all our neighbors must live with the knowledge that our nation won't allow itself to be subordinated or intimidated."

The president thanked the current and previous administrations for "good work" in their negotiations with the US over the controversial plan, which has drawn the anger of Moscow.

The United States says the system is aimed against growing ballistic missile threats from countries like Iran. Russia has strongly opposed the system, saying it targets Moscow's arsenal of nuclear missiles.

Kaczynski said by initialing the deal, Poland has taken a step "to strengthen its position in the world."

Poland today is regarded as a "leader" of its region, and has built - along with Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia and aspiring EU and NATO members Ukraine, Georgia and Azerbaijan - a bloc of nations whose voice "very strongly counts in the West," Kaczynski said.