Romania Agrees to Host US Missile Shield

World | February 4, 2010, Thursday // 18:33|  views

Romania's President Traian Basescu has announced that, subject to parliamentary approval, his country will participate in the planned US missile defence project based in Europe. Photo by BGNES

Romania president Traian Basescu has announced that Romania has agreed to host missile interceptors on its territory as part of a new US defense shield.

Basescu stated on Thursday that the proposal has been approved by the Romanian Supreme Defense Council, but that parliamentary approval will also be required.

The Romanian President said the system would serve to protect the whole of the country’s territory, but stressed that it was not directed against Russia.

US President Barack Obama had scrapped a previous version of the shield in September, 2009. Originally based in Poland and the Czech Republic, the shield, initiated by former US President Bush, had infuriated Russia. Obama said that, instead, the US would concentrate on a smaller-scale version.

Obama said intelligence suggested that Iran was concentrating on shorter-range, not intercontinental, missiles. The new system is built around SM-3 anti-missile missiles.

In October, 2009, US Vice-President Joseph Biden had visited Poland, Romania and the Czech Republic seeking support for the new system. Poland has already signed up for the defensive shield.

The President also stated that, assuming parliament approved, a two-phase missile shield program would be implemented. The interceptors should become operational in 2015, and the second phase should be completed in 2018.

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Tags: Romania, US, Traian Basescu, Barack Obama, George Bush, Russia, Poland, defense shield

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