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Polish foreign minister to arrive in Russia

By RIA Novosti

Warsaw : Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski is to arrive in Moscow for a working visit on Monday to discuss a range of issues, including U.S. plans to deploy a missile defense system in Europe.

The United States is planning to deploy 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic as part of its European missile shield, to avert possible strikes from “rogue” states, such as Iran and North Korea. Russia has objected, citing concerns over its national security.

“Negotiations will also pave the way for a visit to Russia by Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk,” a Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman said. Tusk plans to visit Moscow on February 8.

In an interview with RIA Novosti, Tusk earlier said he would like to discuss further improvement in bilateral relations with Russia “as soon as possible.”

“You will be surprised at how fast Polish-Russian relations will improve,” the Polish leader said.

In his inaugural speech after victory in last year’s elections, Tusk told the Polish parliament that relations with Russia must be improved, and that Moscow had shown its willingness to engage in dialogue.

Tusk had also earlier said that his government had “no rigid doctrine regarding the deployment of a U.S. missile defense base in the country,” and that the issue was “open for all arguments for and against.”

A 2005 ban imposed by Russia on Polish meat proved a major source of tension between Moscow and Warsaw, with Poland subsequently vetoing talks on a new Russia-EU partnership and a cooperation agreement in protest against the embargo.

The two countries signed a memo of understanding to lift the embargo from the bulk of Polish meat supplies last December.