U.S. President Bush plans visit to Poland’s Baltic Coast in early June
U.S. President George W. Bush will discuss a missile defense system and other issues with President Lech Kaczynski on June 8 on Poland?s Baltic Coast.
The meeting in Jurata will follow the G-8 Summit in Heiligendamm, Germany. Bush?s wife Laura will be with him.
The United States has praised Poland as an ally in advancing and consolidating democracy in Europe and in the world. U.S. officials have classified Poland as a leading strategic partner in the war on terror, supporting stability and freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Washington wants to construct part of an anti-missile defense system on Polish territory, and Poland has indicated its willingness to explore that possibility. The U.S. government in January made a formal offer to Poland and the Czech Republic to open talks on the shield.
Under the proposal, Poland would be the location for underground rocket silos. The Czech Republic would be where the radar system would be deployed.
Russia opposes the plan, and Poland?s EU partners, including Germany, have major reservations about it.
Polish officials support the shield idea but have said that the project must increase Poland?s security, rather than threaten it, before the government can accept it.
Polish news organizations have speculated that the government in Warsaw might ask for advanced American PAC-3 Patriot batteries. The Patriot system has had success shooting down incoming missiles.
The Polish public?s views about a missile system are mixed. Half of those surveyed in a Polish Press Agency poll were against installation of a missile shield in the country, 25 percent supported the idea and 18 percent said they did not have any opinion.
But there is consensus on one thing: Poles want to vote on it.
Seventy-five percent support the idea of a referendum on whether to station a missile defense system on Polish soil, according to a poll that GFK Polonia conducted for public television station TVP3 at the beginning of April.
From Poland, George W. Bush will travel to Rome to meet with top Italian politicians and Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican.