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Poland: All NATO members should be covered by missile defense

Category:[world] [WORLD] [World Reaction]

BRUSSELS - Polish President Lech Kaczynski said Wednesday in Brussels that all NATO members should be covered eventually by any missile defense system which is to be built.

Speaking after talks with NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer at the NATO headquarters, Kaczynski said he will discuss with US President George Bush about the US plan to locate part of the missile defense shield in the country when Bush visits Warsaw on Friday.

He said he agrees with de Hoop Scheffer that when the envisaged missile defense system is completed, all NATO allies should get equal protection.

He said he and the secretary general talked about a range of issues and there is "no significant differences" in the positions of the two sides.

De Hoop Scheffer said he and Kaczynski agreed that two principles are important in the discussion about the missile defense shield: "indivisibility" of security and "full coverage".

"First, the principle of the indivisibility of security is of great importance; second, all NATO members are created equal, and in the discussion about missile defense, there are no A and B NATO allies," he said.

"(In the end) all NATO members should be covered, wherever they are geographically," he added.

Poland has opened formal talks with Washington on its plan to place 10 interceptors in the country, while the neighboring Czech Republic is having talks on another component of the system, a radar base.

Washington says the system is needed to shoot down missiles fired by so-called "rogue states" like Iran and North Korea.

But NATO officials say that the US program could divide the military alliance, because the system would protect almost all of Europe except the southeast, which would need an extra, shorter-range system due to its proximity to Iran.



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