Rice, Polish Counterpart Sign Missile Defense Deal

But American base is decried by Russia
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 20, 2008 6:56 AM CDT
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, left, and Poland's Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski arrive in Warsaw, Poland, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2008.    (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
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(Newser) – Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski signed a deal today that will put an American missile defense base in Poland, a plan that has provoked increasingly belligerent opposition from Russia. The formal signing comes 6 days after the two countries agreed to the agreement that would locate 10 US interceptor missiles just 115 miles from Russia's border.

"This is a system that is defensive and is not aimed at anyone," Rice stressed, with an eye to Russian threats that by accepting the missiles Poland is making itself vulnerable to attack—even a nuclear one. After Russia's recent military incursion into Georgia, Poles—the majority of whom initially rejected the idea of hosting the site—have come to see it as offering a form of protection from Russian aggression.