Missile shield offers Europe protection, says US

15th March 2007, Comments 0 comments

15 March 2007, Berlin (dpa) - A senior US general on Thursday defended US plans for a missile shield in Eastern Europe, saying it is needed to counter a possible threat from Iranian long-distance missiles. "We have the obligation to protect the US and its allies from that threat," said General Henry A Obering, director of the US Missile Defence Agency. Washington plans to deploy 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and build a radar tracking station in the Czech Republic as part of its missile defence program

15 March 2007

Berlin (dpa) - A senior US general on Thursday defended US plans for a missile shield in Eastern Europe, saying it is needed to counter a possible threat from Iranian long-distance missiles.

"We have the obligation to protect the US and its allies from that threat," said General Henry A Obering, director of the US Missile Defence Agency.

Washington plans to deploy 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and build a radar tracking station in the Czech Republic as part of its missile defence programme, Obering said ahead of talks with German government and parliamentary officials in Berlin.

The general said he hoped that discussions with the two countries would be concluded by summer so that construction of the facilities could begin in 2008.

The controversial scheme has triggered unease in Germany where Chancellor Angela Merkel said the issue should be submitted to NATO and not decided on a bilateral basis with Washington.

The chancellor is expected to raise the matter with Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski when she visits Warsaw on Friday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has denounced the project as a threat to Moscow's security and said Russia would counter the defence shield with a similar system.

NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said this week that the alliance risked being split between countries that would be covered by the proposed shield and others left exposed to threats from Iran.

Opinion polls have shown a majority of Czechs are against the radar facility, which the US wants to build in a military zone, 50 kilometres south-west of Prague.

DPA

Subject: German news

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