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President Says Romania To Host U.S. Missile Interceptors


Romanian President Traian Basescu

Romanian President Traian Basescu

Romania's President Traian Basescu has said that his country has agreed to host medium-range ballistic-missile interceptors that form part of a new U.S. shield system.

Basescu said at the end of a meeting of the Supreme Defense Council that "Romania has been officially invited by U.S. President Barack Obama to be part of the missile-defense system."

"Terrestrial interceptors will be placed on Romania's territory as part of the antimissile system," Basescu said. "According to the calendar agreed with the American side, the components located on Romania's territory will become operational in 2015."

Basescu said Bucharest has agreed to participate as the new system would "protect the whole of Romania's territory," stressing that it should not be seen as hostile towards Russia.

Basescu said the invitation was sent by way of U.S. Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher, who is in Bucharest together with a team of U.S. experts. The decision must be approved by Romania's parliament.

It was unclear whether Basescu's announcement reflected any decision by the Obama administration on where to place interceptors for its European system.

U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden was in Romania in October 2009 as part of a tour of Central Europe, where he presented a revamped U.S. missile shield to replace a scrapped Bush-era plan to install interceptors in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic.

compiled from agency and RFE/RL reports
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