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No missile defense deployment offer from U.S. yet - Polish min.

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The U.S. has not yet officially proposed to Poland that American missile defense elements be deployed on the European country's territory, the Polish defense minister said Wednesday.
WARSAW, October 11 (RIA Novosti) - The U.S. has not yet officially proposed to Poland that American missile defense elements be deployed on the European country's territory, the Polish defense minister said Wednesday.

The United States has ambitious plans to deploy a network of anti-missile systems across the world to protect itself and its allies from threats from countries such as Iran and North Korea, and there has been speculation they would be based in at least two former Communist-bloc countries, which Russia sees as a threat to its national security.

Sergei Ivanov, Russia's defense minister, said Tuesday: "The announced purpose [of the deployment] is the interception of Iranian intercontinental ballistic missiles, which have never existed and will not exist in the near future."

"The Polish government has not yet received an official offer on the deployment of this system on Polish territory," Radoslaw Sikorski told RIA Novosti Wednesday.

It was announced in September that the 26 NATO member countries completed a feasibility study on a common missile defense system and reached the conclusion that a missile defense for Europe is possible.

NATO apparently has to make up its mind now whether to join the U.S. deployment project or not, and if not, the U.S. will discuss the issue with NATO members on a bilateral basis.

The Polish minister said such a system could "protect Europe's territory from separate missile launches from the territory of some unpredictable states."

"The classic example of an unpredictable state is North Korea," Sikorski said.

Pyongyang claimed Monday that it successfully conducted its first ever nuclear weapons test, drawing a chorus of international condemnation even from traditional allies, such as China.

Sikorski said missile defense systems are capable of ensuring the security of neighboring states. "Of course we are discussing with neighboring countries the hypothetical possibility that such a system will be deployed on Polish territory," he said.

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