Poland and the Czech Republic hope that the new U.S. administration does not change its plans for a missile shield in Central Europe, the Euronews television channel reported on Saturday.
“We are not waiting for, even on political grounds, any kind of revolution. But of course, a new president looks at everything in a new way,” Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said on Saturday.
“We know the position of the newly elected president – he told me himself that he wants to be sure that thing works,” the Polish foreign minister added in comments broadcast on Euronews.
From: RIA Novosti
Under President George Bush, Washington has worked hard to reach agreements with Warsaw and Prague on the deployment of 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar station in the Czech Republic.
The U.S. has insisted that the missile shield is intended to protect against attacks from “rogue states” such as Iran. Russia has protested strenuously against the system as a threat to its national security.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, left, speaks with President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev during the EU-Russia summit, in Nice, southern France, Friday, Nov. 14, 2008. They agreed with each other but leaders in Poland, the Czech Republic and the U.S. said “bugger off.”(AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)
U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, who takes office in January, has been noncommittal on missile defense. After his election victory, a senior foreign policy adviser, Denis McDonough, said he would only continue with the project if its effectiveness was proven.
Euronews also reported that the leaders of Poland and the Czech Republic had been surprised by the declaration of French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Friday that the missile defense system would not improve Europe’s security.
“We should not talk about deployment of a missile shield, which would do nothing to bring security,” Sarkozy said at a news conference with President Dmitry Medvedev after the EU-Russia summit in the French resort city of Nice.
Czech Deputy Prime Minister Alexandr Vondra said in a statement to reporters he “was surprised” by Sarkozy’s remarks.
“As far as the French presidency’s mandate for the EU-Russia summit is concerned, it contains no mention of the anti-missile shield,” he said.
France holds the six-month rotating presidency of the European Union.
An Iranian surface-to-surface missile lifts off from a launch platform during a test firing at an undisclosed location in the Iranian desert in this image released to Fars News by the military November 12, 2008. Iran says these missiles can now reach Israel and into Europe.REUTERS/FARS NEWS