Bulgaria Covered by Stage 1 of NATO ShieldDefense | May 21, 2012, Monday // 08:17| views
Bulgarian President, Rosen Plevneliev (l), at the summit of State and government leaders of NATO members in Chicago. Photo by BGNES
The entire territory of Bulgaria is covered by the first stage of NATO's missile defense shield, according to Foreign Affairs Minister, Nikolay Mladenov.
Mladenov spoke at the NATO summit in Chicago, held on May 21 and 22.
State and government leaders of NATO members announced the establishment of the shield's first stage.
"The political decisions made in Lisbon two years ago are now taking real dimensions. At this point, the countries in Europe taking part are Turkey, Romania, Italy, Spain, and Poland, which means that the entire territory of Bulgaria can be protected from a new threat that could come from instable areas," Mladenov said.
This is the first from a total of four stages to lead to the full realization of the defense system in 2018 - 2020, based on American technology.
The defense shield will be commanded from a base in Ramstein, Germany and will include a super powerful radar, located in Turkey, SM-3 rockets, frigates "AEGIS" in the Mediterranean and interceptors deployed in Poland and Romania.
"It is important for us that NATO keeps doors wide open for future expansion," announced Bulgarian President, Rosen Plevneliev after the first session of the NATO summit, reiterating that the schedule for withdrawal of Bulgarian rangers from Afghanistan has been approved by the Parliament and there wouldn't be any changes in it.
The amount Bulgaria will have to pay for Afghanistan after 2014 will become known Monday.
Plevneliev further informed that the Bulgarian government has received high praise from US President Barack Obama for "splendidly" dealing with all current issues.
It also emerged during the meeting that NATO does not plan to interfere in Syria in an effort to end violence there, but strongly condemns it.
According to NATO, the best way to help Syria is the cease-fire agreement proposed by the special UN envoy Kofi Annan.
The situation in Afghanistan is topping the agenda of the summit, along with missile defense in Europe.
The meeting has been overshadowed by mass anti-NATO protest rallies in Chicago.
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