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Poland objects to the terms offered
Poland objects to the terms offered by the U.S. for the deployment of a missile defense base on its soil, but is ready for further dialogue, the prime minister said Friday.

"We need firm guarantees from Washington that the deployment of a missile defense base will enhance Poland's security," Donald Tusk told reporters.

A source earlier told Polish TV that the Polish government does not agree with U.S. plans to place a missile defense base in the country.

Tusk said the placement of a U.S. missile shield on Polish soil enhances the United States' security, not Poland's.

"Therefore, effective improvement of Poland's security through political as well as military guarantees has been and will remain a key issue in Poland's negotiations [with the U.S.]," he said, adding that "a satisfactory result" was yet to be achieved.

"Just as at the start of the negotiations, now we would want neither to accelerate the negotiating process nor to slow it down: We are still ready to cooperate [with the United States] on this project," the prime minister said.

He said he had not consulted Moscow in making the decision on the U.S. missile-defense plan.

Asked whether the decision was "in line with Russia's national interests," he said: "I did not seek the opinion of any third state when we were conducting missile-shield negotiations with our allies."

On Thursday evening Tusk discussed the issue with U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, and the sides reportedly failed to overcome disagreements.

The discussion took place after Polish and U.S. officials said Wednesday that two-day talks in Washington had resulted in a tentative agreement on the deployment of 10 interceptor missiles in Poland.

The Polsat News channel said Warsaw is continuing to press its demands for greater funding on the modernization of its air defenses and compensation for possible accidents at the base.

The U.S. already gives Poland $27 million per year in military funding, the most any European ally receives, and the Bush administration earlier this year offered an extra $20 million per year.

Washington also wants to put a radar in the Czech Republic as part of its missile shield. The Czech government has agreed to the plan in general, but parliament still needs to approve the deal.

Russia fiercely opposes Washington's missile shield plans for Central Europe as a threat to its security. The United States says the missile shield is needed as protection from possible strikes from "rogue states."

Earlier this week, the United States and ex-Soviet Lithuania, a European Union and NATO member since 2004, admitted holding talks on the possible deployment of the missile interceptor base in the Baltic state if the U.S. deal with Poland falls through.

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