|Left to right: Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Bronisław Komorowski, Barack Obama|
Courtesy of prezydent.pl
The first stage of NATO's European missile defense shield had become operational, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said during the organization's summit in Chicago on Sunday, adding that the missile shield had an “interim capability.”
Currently the shield consists of a radar facility in Turkey and US ships with anti-missile interceptors in the Mediterranean Sea. When fully operational in 2020, the shield will include SM-3 missile facilities stationed in Poland and Romania.
Polish President Bronisław Komorowski, heading the Polish delegation at the summit in Chicago, reiterated Polish support for the NATO anti-missile shield project, and added that Poland would also use its own resources to combat threats.
Recently Russian officials have threatened to deploy nuclear-armed Iskander missiles in the Kaliningrad oblast, on Poland's border, and to carry out preemptive strikes on planned NATO missile defense installations in Europe.
Mr Komorowski also reiterated its commitment for Polish troops to leave Afghanistan, where they are stationed as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), by 2014. The future of Afghanistan is one of summit's main topics.
The United States has proposed that participants in the operation in Afghanistan pay a total of $1 billion annually to maintain national security forces after 2014. Poland's contribution has been estimated at $20 million annually.
Mr Komorowski reacted with limited enthusiasm to this proposal, but said that Poland should not “show lack of interest about what is going on in Afghanistan after 2014.”
“NATO’s pull-out from Afghanistan is a watershed in the Alliance’s development. Annual operating costs of the Afghan national security forces are estimated at around $4 billion. This is far more than Afghanistan can handle. The United States expect the ISAF countries to contribute around $1 billion per year. The government of Poland is examining our possibilities in this regard,” said Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski in an address at the Polish Institute of International Affairs on the eve of the summit.
On Monday the Polish president is expected to attend a meeting of heads of state on Afghanistan, and to meet with representatives of the Polish community in Chicago.
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