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Biden: No Secret Deals With Moscow

Vice President Joe Biden signing a guest book Wednesday as he meets Prime Minister Donald Tusk in Warsaw. Czarek Sokolowski

WARSAW — U.S. Vice President Joe Biden sought to reassure Poles on Wednesday that Washington would not strike any deals with Moscow affecting their security over their heads.

“Our commitment to Poland is unwavering,” Biden said after meeting Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

Tusk said Poland was ready to assist in a revamped missile defense system unveiled by Washington last month.

Poland and the Czech Republic are still smarting from President Barack Obama’s decision to scrap Bush-era plans under which they would have hosted elements of an ambitious missile shield to protect against possible long-range attack from Iran. Russia opposed the plans. Obama’s new program envisages the deployment first of sea-based interceptors and then of land-based systems. Under this arrangement, Poland could host SM-3 interceptors targeting short- and medium-range missiles.

“Poland finds the new anti-missile project as very interesting and important and, in the appropriate scale, we are ready to participate,” Tusk said at a joint news conference.

Biden, on the first leg of a European visit, stressed that the new system would be more effective and would cover a much greater part of European territory than the previous plan by President George W. Bush.

Raising concerns in Poland and other former Soviet satellites, Obama has made “resetting” relations with Russia a major foreign policy objective as he needs Moscow’s cooperation on Iran, Afghanistan and other strategic issues.

Russia has welcomed his decision to shelve the Bush missile shield plan, which Moscow had regarded as a direct threat to its own security.

Biden was also scheduled to meet President Lech Kaczynski, a conservative known for his anti-Russian rhetoric and a strong supporter of the previous Bush shield plan, before leaving for Romania on Wednesday evening.

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