Romania, US Ink Missile Defense Deal

World | September 14, 2011, Wednesday // 09:15|  views

The Deveselu air base in Romania will host the interceptors of the future US/NATO missile shield in Europe. Map from google maps

Romania and the United States have signed a ballistic missile defense agreement in Washington,  allowing for the deployment of SM-3 interceptors (also referred to as the "Aegis Ashore System")  in the Balkan country by 2015.

The interceptor missiles of the future NATO/US missile shield in Europe will be stationed at the Deveselu Air Base near Romania's Caracal. They will be able to target short and medium- range missiles.

Deveselu is about 50 km away from the Romanian-Bulgarian border. The closest Bulgarian location is the village of Zagrazhden between the towns of Oryahovo and Nikopol.

The accord was signed by US  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Romanian counrterpart Teodor Baconschi at the US  State Department on Tuesday.

"This agreement is an important step in our efforts to protect from the growing threat posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles of increasingly greater ranges, lethality and sophistication, and potentially armed with weapons of mass destruction,"the  US state department has commented.

"Romania has been a strong partner in NATO’s actions around the globe, from peacekeeping in Kosovo to enforcing the arms embargo of Libya, and we honor the commitment and sacrifice of the Romanian soldiers who served alongside American troops in Afghanistan," US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has also said.

"Now there are many areas where Romania and the United States collaborate. Before this ceremony, the foreign minister and I had a wide ranging discussion covering the full depth and scope of our bilateral relationship, from promoting government transparency to creating free market opportunities worldwide, and I want to particularly to thank Romania for its work supporting emerging democracies as well. Drawing on the lessons of its own recent history, Romania has offered valuable guidance and expertise to countries that are working to build sustainable democratic governments and improve the lives of their citizens," she has added.

The original missile defense in Europe plan of George W. Bush administration provided for stationing interceptors in Poland and the radar station in the Czech Republic. The modification of the plan by the Obama Administration switched it to sea-borne missiles and, later on, locations in southeastern Europe. Initially, there were reports and expectations that Romania and Bulgaria will replace Poland and the Czech Republic, respectively.

It was recently revealed that Turkey will host the US/NATO missile shield radar instead of Bulgaria.

As recently as June 2011, senior officials from the Bulgarian government indicated that Bulgaria would be ready to host it if Turkey refused to do so. At the 2010 NATO summit in Lisbon, Turkey formally backed NATO plans to build a missile defense system, saying it would also contribute to national defense against the growing threat of ballistic missile proliferation.

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Tags: air base, Deveselu, NATO, missile shield, missile defense, US, Romania, turkey, Hillary Clinton, radar system, Teodor Baconschi


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