On the second day of their summit, NATO leaders have agreed to fully endorse President Bush's plan to build a missile defense system in Eastern Europe and to urge Russia to drop its objections to the shield. In a communique NATO leaders expressed that "ballistic missile proliferation poses an increasing threat to allied forces, territory and populations." They also lauded "the substantial contribution to the protection of allies ... to be provided by the U.S.-led system."
However, states were also called upon to explore the options to NATO-ize the two future European bases of the missile defense system and to explore links with future missile shields elsewhere. The member states are asked to come up with recommendations to be considered at their next meeting in 2009.
While this kind of support is definitely welcomed by President Bush, especially in the light of the next meeting with President Putin in Sochi, the United States could also claim another victory: Condeleezza Rice and her Czech colleague Karel Schwarzenberg announced that they came to an agreement to allow construction of a radar base on Czech territory:
“We have clarified the content of the treaty,” Schwarzeberg said. He added that he and Rice have made preliminary arrangements regarding the treaty’s signing, which he says will most likely happen in Prague some time in the first 10 days of May.It will be interesting to see how the negotiations with Poland continue. On the one hand, the country, being a NATO member, just expressed support for the deal. On the other hand, Warsaw tries to get the best price for their consent. This could include some walk-aways from the remaining negotiations and some other dramaturgical scenes that run counter to the support they expressed at the summit.
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