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US to deploy missile defence shield in Romania


A file photo of Standard Missile-3 being test fired.

WASHINGTON (PTI): Romania has agreed to host a Standard Missile-3 interceptor, the Obama Administration has announced as part of its new missile defense plan to address the emerging threat coming to the region from Iran and asserted that it is not targeted against Russia.

“We call it the Phased Adaptive Approach – to protect US forward-deployed troops and our NATO allies against current and emerging ballistic missile threats from Iran,” Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P J Crowley said.

This is a first step in terms of the revised architecture that the United States President, Barack Obama, announced last September.

“The President outlined in September a new approach on missile defense that provided greater coverage to threats for Europe and for this country,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.

“We're pleased that Romania has agreed to participate in that defense shield that, again, will provide greater security for those that could be threatened there or here.

“What the President outlined was something that would work better, work faster, and provide greater levels of protection, and that's what we've seen in Romania's agreement today, and we're quite thankful,” Gibbs said.

“The decision by Romania to host the SM-3 is a reflection of our strategy to make sure that as this architecture develops and grows it will protect all of Europe.

The choice of Romania extends the missile defense into southern Europe, and we expect, in this phase, this will be online by 2015,” Crowley said.

Crowley said the Obama Administration is in further discussions with other countries as the architecture evolves.

“For example, Poland agreed last October, in principle, to host the northern land-based SM-3 missile site. That development is still under consideration and discussion with Poland,” he said.

The revised missile defense approach of the Obama Administration, he said is tailored to address the emerging threat coming to the region from Iran.

“And regarding Russia, as we have made clear over and over again, this is not a capability that is directed at Russia,” he clarified.

The Phased Adaptive Approach includes land-based and sea-based, he said.

“That's the value of shifting to the upgraded Standard Missile because it can be based on both ships and land. So this particular announcement today involves a land-based component, but there will be sea-based components as well,” Crowley said.

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