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    Warsaw expects SOFA security pact signed with U.S. this week

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    An agreement on the status of U.S. troops on Polish soil, known as the SOFA deal, will be signed on December 10 in Warsaw

    WARSAW, December 7 (RIA Novosti) - An agreement on the status of U.S. troops on Polish soil, known as the SOFA deal, will be signed on December 10 in Warsaw, a Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Monday.

    According to the Status of Forces Agreement, U.S. troops will service Patriot missiles that are to be integrated into Poland's national security system.

    "The U.S.-Polish SOFA accord will be signed in Warsaw and not in Washington. The last preparations for signing the document are underway," Piotr Paszkowski told journalists.

    The accord was given the final backing of Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk Friday and will be signed in Warsaw this Thursday, Defense Ministry spokesman Robert Rochowicz said on Saturday.

    The first troop rotation to service the Patriot missile system is expected to arrive in Poland by the end of March 2010, according to Paszkowski.

    In September U.S. President Barack Obama canceled the previous administration's plans to place 10 long-range ground-based interceptor missiles in Poland and a fixed radar in the Czech Republic.

    Due to a reassessment of the threat for Iran, Washington announced a new scheme for a more flexible system, with a combination of land and sea-based interceptors based on the Standard Missile interceptor, SM-3.

    Under the new plan, the U.S. would place ship-based SM-3s in the North and Mediterranean seas in 2011, and mobile land-based SM-3s in Central Europe by 2015.

    In contrast to the previous system which was strongly opposed by Russia, the new multidirectional radars and missiles would not be able to penetrate deep into Russia's territory. However, Russian officials have voiced concerns over the new plans as well.

     

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