WASHINGTON (AFP) — US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Sunday she would travel to Poland in coming days to ink a deal on installing US interceptor missiles on Polish territory.
"I'm going to Poland to sign a missile defense agreement in the next couple of days, after the NATO meeting," she told Fox News Sunday.
Relations between Russia and the former Soviet Republic of Poland reached a new low after Moscow voiced fury at Warsaw's sudden announcement Thursday that it had reached a deal on the long-touted missile shield with the US.
The timing of the announcement infuriated Russia which said the weapons were clearly pointed at Moscow and warned they made Poland a legitimate military target.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Rice would be traveling "to Brussels, Belgium and Warsaw, Poland, departing on August 18," Monday.
"In Warsaw, Secretary Rice will sign a formal agreement with Poland on behalf of the United States for the establishment and operation of a ballistic missile defense interceptor site in Poland," McCormack said in a statement.
"This agreement is an important step in our efforts to protect the United States and our European allies from the growing threat posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles."
Foreign ministers of the 26 NATO members are due to meet in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss the crisis in Georgia, after a five-day war between Tbilisi and Moscow over the pro-Moscow region of South Ossetia.
McCormack said Rice had requested the North Atlantic Treaty Organization emergency session "under instructions from President (George W.) Bush."
"We are going to help rebuild Georgia into a strong Georgian state. The Russians will have failed in their effort to undermine Georgia. And we will be looking at what we can do with the states around that region as well," Rice said.
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