Poland expects U.S. decision on shield in September

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland expects the Obama administration to decide as early as next month whether it will press ahead with the missile shield installation in central Europe over Russian objections, a deputy defense minister said.

Poland and the Czech Republic had agreed last year to host parts of the U.S. global missile shield with the Bush White House, but Barack Obama has said he needs to review the costs and viability of the controversial plan.

“We expect to learn the results of the U.S. review in September,” the minister, Stanislaw Komorowski, told Reuters on Friday.

Poland is to host 10 round-based interceptors which, along with a radar facility in neighboring Czech Republic, would protect the United States and its European allies against potential air attacks from Iran and other countries .

But some officials fear Washington may abandon or delay the project to appease Russia, which sees it as a potential security threat.

The previous U.S. administration also agreed to station one of its Patriot batteries in Poland, which Poland expects to take place by the end of the year or in early 2010.

He added that the negotiations on the legal status of U.S. troops on the Polish soil would likely be concluded in October.

Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Richard Balmforth