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ABM System: Problems Remain Unsolved

30.05.2008 11:12

А.Novik

The work relating to approval of decisions, arrangements and financial support of US ABM system deployment in Poland and Czechia is in progress. In spite of this fact there are still unsolved problems, which may abort the American project of ABM system deployment in Europe.

Analyzing the preparation for construction of the third strategic ABM deployment area in East Europe it is necessary to recollect two noteworthy statements of Polish Prime Minister D. Tusk. The first one is rather optimistic for the project. D. Tusk claimed that “the EU member-states do not object Poland to make an independent decision on this issue”. The second statement is less optimistic: “So far, Warsaw is not satisfied with the American proposals relating to the ABM system deployment …If the conditions are beneficial for the Polish armed forces, the US ABM system will be deployed in Poland. Vice versa an agreement on deployment of American GBIs in Poland will fail”. Besides, D. Tusk emphasized that the United States ABM defense plans cause concerns of Russia.

Meanwhile mutual understanding between the USA and Poland on this issue is still pending. According to mass media, the ABM talks between the USA and Poland turned out to be in jeopardy. Poland will get from the United States neither multibillion military assistance nor SAMs Patriot. According to US officials, after the latest round of the talks the Polish stand “seems absolutely unrealistic”. Earlier in exchange for its consent with deployment of the US ABM GBIs in its territory, Poland demanded a 20-billion Dollar assistance to upgrade its armed forces.

According to Pzhech Pospolita, in order to verify reasonableness of the Warsaw’s demand the Pentagon contracted American Rand Corporation to perform an expert examination of the Polish Army condition to determine an actual amount of assistance required for its upgrade. Rand Corporation was to perform the examination and submit its report to the Pentagon within ten weeks.

The respective works were commenced in April and to be accomplished in early July. In his interview with the newspaper Polish Defense Minister B. Klich claimed that the Americans will not have access to all data but only to those to be disclosed by the Polish leadership. During the inspections, American experts are accompanied by Polish representatives.

Warden of village Redzikovo (the Slupsk District) M. Khmel believes that the Government already has made a decision on construction of an American GBI base. It is confirmed by participation of American experts in provision of initial works in the territory of airfield Redzikovo. M. Khmel emphasized that American experts come to the site every week. Last time the airfield was visited by 40 top-ranking US officers who interested in establishment of the base in this site, as well as issues relating to medical arrangement, water supplies, waste disposal, etc. Earlier Redzikovo was visited by a team of experts looking for a site for construction of residential buildings for militaries and construction workers.

Joint Polish-American teams go on discussing the potential threats to Poland in case of its consent to provide its territory for the US ABM GBI base. The talks are of a technical nature. An agreement on installation of an ABM radar in Czechia is practically achieved. The parties are to sign the respective document only.

Meanwhile, the German military and political leadership stands for combining the to-be-deployed US ABM elements in Europe with the NATO ABM system in the European theater of operations. For example, German Defense Minister Dr. Franz Josef Jung claimed that his country supports installation of the US ABM system radar in the Czech Republic. He also believes that it is necessary to integrate the Central European Defense System including American GBIs expected to be deployed in Poland. But this position is conceptually opposed by Russia.

As quoted to Sergey Ryabkov, Director of the European Cooperation Department, the RF Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “if the American project of the third US ABM deployment area in Poland and Czechia is combined with the project of Theater ABM System in Europe implemented within the framework of Council Russia-NATO, we ask a question if there is a sense to continue our own project within the framework of the Council”. Let us recall that Army General Yuri Baluyevsky, Chief of the Russian General Staff, made a similar statement in last November.

The US establishment has no consensus on provision of financial resources for construction of the third US ABM deployment area in Poland and Czechia. For example, on May 14 this year, the US House Armed Forces Committee refused to support an amendment to draft defense budget of 2009 restoring the earlier trimmed funds for construction of the ABM system in East Europe up to 232 million Dollars.

The amendment offered by Congressman T. Everett ( R), Deputy Chairman of the House Strategic Force Subcommittee, provided restoration in full volume (719.8 million Dollars) of the project funds for 2009 as requested by George Bush. T. Everett expressed deep concern over “significant reduction of funds for the European ABM system”. “It sends a wrong signal to our allies strongly supporting the project”, he pointed out. US Defense Secretary R. Gates also has forwarded a message to the Chairman of the Committee to emphasize that ABM system funding in full volume “will send a definite signal to Poland, Czechia, NATO, Russia and Iran”.

Time will tell us further developments.