US to proceed with missile shield

24th April 2007, Comments 0 comments

24 April 2007, Prague (dpa) - The United States plans to proceed with the development of its anti-missile defence shield despite Russian and European reservations, US Missile Shield Agency head Henry Obering told reporters in Prague on Monday. Obering has been explaining technical details of the US anti- missile shield to Czech officials and legislators in his first visit to Prague on Monday, on the same day that US Defence Secretary Robert Gates' invitation to Russia to jointly create a defence against po

24 April 2007

Prague (dpa) - The United States plans to proceed with the development of its anti-missile defence shield despite Russian and European reservations, US Missile Shield Agency head Henry Obering told reporters in Prague on Monday.

Obering has been explaining technical details of the US anti- missile shield to Czech officials and legislators in his first visit to Prague on Monday, on the same day that US Defence Secretary Robert Gates' invitation to Russia to jointly create a defence against potential missiles from the so-called rogue states received a cold welcome.

"We did not say that we are concerned about the Iranian threat only if the Russians are concerned about the Iranian threat," Obering said.

"We say we are concerned about the Iranian threat and we need to move out to do something about that. If Russia wants to come along with us that would be a great benefit to everybody."

According to him, a common missile defence would discourage the so-called rogue states from proliferating long-range missiles.

"If we join together - US, NATO and even Russia - in deploying missile defences I believe it will greatly devaluate these weapons," he said.

Obering said that the US will continue to be transparent and to engage Russia. "I would not give up so soon. It's going to take time," he said.

According to Obering, European worries - last voiced by German Chancellor Angela Merkel - that the US plans to deploy the anti- missile shield facilities in Central Europe would divide the continent would not stop the US.

"The negotiations and the discussions that we have are between the Czech Republic and the United States and Poland and the United States, and we are working on this within the NATO framework," he said. "So if we have one country that does not agree that does not mean it stops the deal."

In meetings with German officials, Obering said he was able to at least allay their technical objections.

"I can't deal with the political objections. That is something that has to be dealt with by other people," he added.

Obering arrived in Prague to brief the Czech government officials, legislators and the Czech State Security Council on the technical details of a radar base the US wishes to deploy on Czech soil as a part of its missile shield.

He did not manage to sway the opposition Social Democratic leader in favour of the facility. But the US efforts to convince the Czech parliamentarians, who will decide the Czech-based radar system's fate, seem to have had some results.

After a US-organized trip for them to tour the radar facility currently on the Marshall Islands, which would be moved to the Czech Republic, a Social Democratic politician said that "the information the Americans had been presenting us earlier was open and honest," the Pravo daily reported Monday.

"I think that the visit by parliamentarians to the Marshall Islands to actually see the radar was very positive," Obering said.

DPA

Subject: German news

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