Source AP ©

Poland's foreign minister visits USA for missile defense talks with Rice

Poland's foreign minister has traveled to the United States for talks with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice about basing American missile interceptors in Poland for a future missile shield against Iran.

Radek Sikorski left for Washington on Sunday and his trip comes days after Warsaw rebuffed the latest U.S. offer to persuade Poland to accept the missile defense facility.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk on Friday rejected the U.S. offer as unsatisfactory. Tusk argued that it did not strengthen Poland's security, but stressed he was open to further talks.

"There was a declaration from our side that the negotiations have not finished, that we are inclined to continue them, and eventually accept an American offer, if it fulfills our minimum conditions," Foreign Ministry spokesman Piotr Paszkowski said Monday on TVN24 television.

Paszkowski added that Poland has received "signals now from the U.S. indicating their inclination to continue talks" as well.

Washington and Warsaw opened negotiations 18 months ago on placing the 10 missile interceptors in northern Poland to protect the U.S. and Europe from possible future attacks from Iran.

The base would be linked to a radar-tracking system Washington wants to build in the Czech Republic. Prague has agreed in principle to the plan, but the Czech parliament still must approve the deal.

While in Washington, Sikorski was scheduled to speak by telephone with Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Monday evening, and to meet with the Republican presidential candidate, John McCain, on Tuesday, Paszkowski said.

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