BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Monday, 10 March 2008, 17:22 GMT
US 'to modernise Polish military'
Donald Tusk, Polish Prime Minister
Mr Tusk thinks Poland should be rewarded for hosting the shield
The US has agreed to help modernise Poland's military as part of a deal to base 10 missile defence interceptors on Polish soil.

President George W Bush made the promise during talks with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk in Washington.

Before the meeting, Mr Tusk said the US anti-missile system, which has angered Russia, would reduce Poland's security.

Mr Bush says the shield will guard against possible attacks by "rogue states", such as Iran or North Korea.

"There is a commitment to a system that respects Poland's sovereignty and that will ensure that the people of Poland will not be subjected to any undue security risks," said Mr Bush after the meeting.

"We just want to assure people that [the missile defence shield] is necessary and at the same time there will be this modernisation effort that will take place", he added.

'Rogue state' defence

The US opened negotiations last year with the previous Polish government of Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, a strong backer of the US proposals.

But Mr Tusk's government, which came to power in November, has argued that Poland should get some reward for allowing the US missiles to be based in the country.

It wants anti-aircraft missiles - such as the US Patriot, which was used to shoot down Iraqi Scud missiles in the 1991 Gulf War - in return.

The Americans know our expectations and their understanding of Polish expectations is slowly taking a very promising shape
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk

Russia's outgoing President Vladimir Putin has condemned the plans to include Poland and the neighbouring Czech Republic in its proposed missile shield.

An associated radar system could be based in the Czech Republic.

"The Americans know our expectations and their understanding of Polish expectations is slowly taking a very promising shape," Mr Tusk told Polish news agency PAP before flying to the US.

The two leaders are also thought to have discussed further Nato involvement in military missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Polish troops took part in the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, and a multinational division in the south of the country is commanded by Polish forces - though the Poles intend to withdraw their troops by October.

Mr Tusk is also expected to meet UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday.



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
President Bush on the Polish military deal



RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific