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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 September 2006, 11:57 GMT 12:57 UK
Polish PM in military talks in US
Polish PM Jaroslaw Kaczynski
PM Kaczynski is considered a staunch US ally
Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski is on a visit to the United States to discuss military co-operation in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Poland wants to withdraw its 900 soldiers in Iraq, but has pledged to increase its troops in Afghanistan.

Mr Kaczynski will also discuss plans for a controversial US missile defence base in Poland.

He has said his government would consider hosting the base despite opposition at home.

Mr Kaczynski is due to meet US President George Bush, the vice president, Dick Cheney, and the secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, during his three-day visit.

Military matters are uppermost on the agenda during the discussions.

Poland wants to withdraw its 900 soldiers from Iraq by next year at the latest while at the same time pledging to increase troop numbers in Afghanistan as part of the Nato force there.

Missile shield

But a more controversial topic will be the US missile defence shield.

Washington is looking for a European site to host a missile base, designed to knock out inter-continental range missiles fired by what Washington calls "rogue states".

American military experts have already visited the Czech Republic and Poland to examine potential sites for a small number of long-range interceptor missiles and radar.

Polish troops in Karbala, Iraq
Polish troops command the coalition forces in central Iraq

The US has located warheads in Alaska and California but until now, no missile defence sites have been installed outside US territory.

Mr Kaczynski has said he is considering the proposal to host the base, but it is unclear how much control Warsaw would have over it.

Being part of the US defence system may strengthen Poland's security, but it could also increase the chances of the country being targeted by America's enemies, the BBC Adam Easton reports from Warsaw.

Although Poland is one of the most pro-US countries in Europe, almost two thirds of people there say they do not want such a base.

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