Saturday, February 23, 2008

Another u-turn

Earlier this month Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski announced that his country and the United States clinched a deal “in principle” to install a missile defense system on Polish territory. Now it seems that this statement was made in a very optimistic manner – or that someone is not adhering to his principles. The Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza reported that Polish officials cancelled a meeting that was scheduled to take place on Friday:

U.S. officials had hoped to reach an agreement before Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk visits Washington early next month, but that opportunity will be missed, reported Gazeta Wyborcza.

“We will not accept a situation in which the Americans treat us from a business standpoint and we give them treatment based on ideology,” Tusk said (Poland Business Newswire I, Feb. 22).

“I am not convinced that the United States is approaching these negotiations with the energy it declares,” added Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski (Poland Business Newswire II, Feb. 21).

Slawomir Nowak, a senior aide to Prime Minister Donald Tusk, told the private broadcaster Radio Zet that "the talks with our American friends are aimed at reaching a ... form of agreement that is mutually advantageous. The negotiations are going ahead as normal and I wouldn't panic". He stressed the importance of a visit of a US military delegation in Warsaw next week.

The Polish announcement came to a surprise for the U.S. side. John Rood, the US secretary of state for arms control and international security, was quoted recently: "I don't think there are major issues that are outstanding that are not surmountable. [...] I am very optimistic about our ability to successfully conclude these agreements."

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