July 26, 2012 - 21:24 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Washington and Warsaw keep closely discussing the deployment of a U.S. new-generation ballistic missile defense interceptor site in Poland by 2018, Pentagon spokesman George Little said, Defence Professionals reported citing RIA Novosti.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta met on Wednesday, July 25 with his Polish counterpart Tomasz Siemoniak to discuss besides other issues the deployment of the U.S. missile shield elements in Europe.
“Panetta thanked Siemoniak for Poland’s leadership on NATO Ballistic Missile Defense [BMD]. Poland was the first nation to establish a BMD agreement with the United States… The two nations are working closely together to establish an SM-3 ballistic missile interceptor site in Poland by 2018,” Little said in a statement.
The Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IB is designed to intercept and destroy short to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats and is an essential component of an anti-missile system the United States is building in and around Europe.
Moscow has long opposed the deployment of U.S. missile defenses near its borders, arguing they would be a security threat and could destroy the strategic balance of forces in Europe.
The United States scrapped plans in September of 2010 for an anti-ballistic-missile defense system in the Czech Republic and Poland. Moscow welcomed the move, and Russia’s then-President Dmitry Medvedev said later that Russia would drop plans to deploy Iskander-M tactical missiles in its Kaliningrad Region, which borders NATO members Poland and Lithuania.
Last year, however, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced Washington's plans to deploy missile defenses and Air Force units in Poland.
Russia and NATO agreed to cooperate on the so called Euro missile defense system at the Lisbon summit. NATO insists there should be two independent systems that exchange information, while Russia favors a joint system.