Polish P.M.: Poland Closer to Hosting U.S. Missile Shield After Bush Visit

Poland's prime minister said Tuesday that his country has moved closer to hosting a U.S. missile defense facility after President Bush's visit last week.

Bush held talks on Friday with President Lech Kaczynski, the prime minister's twin brother, on plans to base 10 missile interceptors in the country.

Asked whether Poland was now closer to hosting the facility, the premier said on state Radio 1: "Yes, closer. There was talk of an honest agreement and I hope that it will be reached."

He underlined Poland's insistence that any deal must enhance the country's own security, including in "military and military-political" matters. He did not elaborate.

Prime Minister Kaczynski also charged that Russian President Vladimir Putin was "playing a game" with his counterproposal last week to anchor the missile defense system around a Soviet-era radar installation in Azerbaijan.

Putin has vehemently opposed the U.S. plans to build the system in Poland and neighboring Czech Republic, where Washington wants to base a radar facility.

"Not so long ago President Putin claimed that the installation itself was something incredibly dangerous and threatened nuclear bombs," Kaczynski said. "But the fact that he's playing some sort of game is nothing new."

Kaczynski warned against submitting to Russia's attempts to derail Washington's missile defense plans.

"If the Kremlin succeeds in winning, its position toward Europe would be incomparably stronger than at this moment," he said.

Putin followed up last week's proposition regarding Azerbaijan by suggesting that missile interceptors could be placed in nations such as Turkey or Iraq, or on sea platforms.