Rice, Polish Counterpart Sign Missile Defense Deal

But American base is decried by Russia
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 20, 2008 6:56 AM CDT
Rice, Polish Counterpart Sign Missile Defense Deal
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, left, and Poland's Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski arrive in Warsaw, Poland, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2008.    (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski signed a deal today that will put an American missile defense base in Poland, a plan that has provoked increasingly belligerent opposition from Russia. The formal signing comes 6 days after the two countries agreed to the agreement that would locate 10 US interceptor missiles just 115 miles from Russia's border.

"This is a system that is defensive and is not aimed at anyone," Rice stressed, with an eye to Russian threats that by accepting the missiles Poland is making itself vulnerable to attack—even a nuclear one. After Russia's recent military incursion into Georgia, Poles—the majority of whom initially rejected the idea of hosting the site—have come to see it as offering a form of protection from Russian aggression. (More missile defense system stories.)

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