U.S., Romania sign missile deal that irked Russia

WASHINGTON Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:43pm EDT

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday signed an agreement to base anti-missile interceptors in Romania under a NATO missile defense plan that has angered Russia.

Clinton signed the agreement with Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi and said the United States expected to deploy the interceptor missiles at a Romanian air force base in approximately four years.

"The agreement we have just signed will position Romania as a central player in NATO's evolving missile defense capability," Clinton said, noting that the agreement must still be ratified by the Senate.

"With this missile agreement we are jointly building a safer, more secure future for us all."

The Romania deal is part of a larger NATO missile defense plan for Europe that has caused friction with Moscow, which wants a bigger role.

At a NATO summit last November, the allies agreed to develop a new missile defense shield linking systems in the United States and Europe to protect member states against long-range attacks from states such as Iran.

The plans involve the stationing of ship-based interceptors in the Mediterranean beginning this year, followed by land-based interceptors in Romania from 2015 and in Poland from 2018.

Russia has agreed to cooperate on the initiative but disagrees over its implementation, saying it should be a single integrated shield rather than two separate defense systems.

The U.S.-Romania deal calls for the United States to construct, maintain and operate a facility at the Deveselu Air Base near Caracal in southern Romania for the land-based SM-3 ballistic missile defense system.

The facility is expected to house between 150 and 200 U.S. military personnel as well as government and civilian contractors.

A State Department factsheet underscored that the SM-3 interceptors are for defensive purposes only and carry no explosive warheads, operating instead by colliding with and destroying incoming missiles.

(Editing by Eric Beech)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (1)
clintshapre wrote:
I think such news articles should take more seriously Russia’s objections. The FAS institute in DC has done some analysis which may be useful to reporters:

http://www.fas.org/press/_docs/20110526-missiledefense-factsheet.pdf

Sep 13, 2011 6:05pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.