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US, Poland amend missile system deal

The United States and Poland have approved amendments to Washington’s planned missile system in Eastern Europe, despite objections by Russia.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed the revised deal in Poland’s southern city of Krakow on Saturday.

The new accord takes into changes requested by US President Barack Obama. The new deal envisage the use of short-range sea- and land-based missile interceptors instead of longer-rage ones.

Clinton said the missile plan “will help protect the Polish people and all in Europe our allies and others.”

“The United States is deeply committed to Poland’s security and sovereignty,” Clinton told reporters at a joint news conference with Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski.

“Today, by signing an amendment to the ballistic missile defence agreement, we are reinforcing this commitment,” she added.

In September, Obama scraped an original deal devised under former US President George W Bush.

Russia has been critical of the plan, arguing that the missile system would be a threat to its sovereignty and that it meant to pacify its ballistic capability.

In an effort to allay the Kremlin’s concerns, Clinton claimed that the missile system was “purely a defensive” one.

“It is not directed at Russia. It does not threaten Russia. It is a defensive system to protect our friends and allies and our deployed forces,” she said.

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