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General Says U.S. Wants Antimissile Base In Caucasus

General Henry Obering (file photo) (epa) March 2, 2007 -- The head of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency says Washington wants to base an antimissile radar in the Caucasus.

U.S. Air Force Lieutenant General Henry Obering declined to say in which Caucasus country the radar could be installed.

He told reporters at NATO headquarters it would be part of a larger missile-defense system that Washington wants to locate in the Czech Republic and Poland.

Those plans have prompted strong objections from Moscow, but Obering said they were not aimed at Russia.

"What [we] are talking about is 10 interceptors that we would locate in Poland," he said. "First of all, from a numbers perspective, there is no way that they can challenge the hundreds of missiles and thousands of warheads that the Russians have. [Secondly,] even if we were trying to target those missiles, we can not catch those missiles from Poland. In fact, if we were trying to target Russian missiles we would not put the interceptors in Poland -- it is too close to Russia. They would be in a different location."

Washington says the planned defenses are intended to defend against possible missile attacks from countries such as Iran or North Korea.

(Reuters, AFP, AP)