Polish Foreign Minister wants "normal" relations with Russia

Other News Materials 21 August 2008 17:55 (UTC +04:00)

Poland wants "normal" relations with its eastern neighbour Russia, despite Moscow's anger over a planned US missile defence system to be located in the country, the Polish foreign minister said on Thursday, dpa reported.

Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski told Polish radio that "as a gesture" he had recommended that the Russians be invited to inspect the bases to be used in the proposed missile defence system.

The US and Poland signed an agreement in Warsaw on Wednesday for the construction of ten missile interceptor sites in the north of the country, as part of a system designed to defend Europe and the US against intercontinental missile attacks.

Russia has fiercely opposed the planned shield, despite repeated US assurances that it would defend Europe and the United States against missile threats from "rogue nations" like Iran, not target Moscow's strategic nuclear arsenal.

In the past week Russian Deputy Chief of Staff Anatoly Nogovitsyn threatened that if Poland signed the deal it would leave the Poles vulnerable to nuclear attack.

Sikorski referred to the threats as "bluster" from a "relatively low level." The minister had been due to meet with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in the coming days but a planned meeting was cancelled by the Russians in the wake of the US deal.