Romania, U.S. to deploy missile interceptors in southern Romania

14:29, May 04, 2011      

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Romania and the United States Tuesday unveiled that U.S. missile interceptors will be deployed at Deveselu air base in southern Romania.

Romanian and U.S. officials Tuesday held an official ceremony to inaugurate the deployment location, which was attended by State Secretary of Romania's Foreign Ministry Bogdan Aurescu and the visiting U.S. Under-Secretary of State Ellen Tauscher.

At a press conference held before the ceremony in Slatina, capital city of Olt County, Aurescu and Tauscher told the media that the deployment of the missile system at Deveselu will not have negative impact on the environment, population and agricultural crops.

"This choice contributes to the security of Romania, the U.S. and NATO allies, substantiating the strategic partnership between Romania and the U.S.," said Aurescu, adding that it is a very important contribution to strengthening Romania's role and profile in world security.

Tauscher said Romania is a close friend and a valued NATO ally and the Tuesday event "marks an extremely important moment for Romania, the United States and NATO".

"Romania will play a major role in the new NATO missile defense capability," she added.

The U.S. official said that costs for deploying the missile defense system to Deveselu, 400 million U.S. dollars plus 20 million dollars each year for maintenance, will be borne by the United States.

Romanian President Traian Basescu announced earlier on Tuesday that his country and the U.S. have agreed to deploy missile interceptors at Deveselu as part of a missile defense shield.

Basescu also said that 200 U.S. troops will be stationed at the Deveselu base and the size might increase up to 500, under special circumstances.

On Feb. 4, 2010, Romania's Supreme Council for National Defense accepted U.S. President Barack Obama's invitation to participate in the adaptive development of the European anti-missile defense system.

The new shield is to provide full coverage of Romania's territory against short- and medium-range missile threats.

The Deveselu air base, located at the border with Bulgaria, has no longer been operational since 2002.

Source: Xinhua
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