U.S. Missile Plans Accelerate Defense Shield Debate At NATO

Posted on Sunday, March 18 at 14:14 by jensonj
Since January, the U.S. has been negotiating to build 10 interceptors in Poland to knock down missiles mid-flight at extremely high altitudes fired by “rogue states” like Iran. The interceptors, which would not have an explosive warhead, would home in on information provided by a tracking station in the Czech Republic, as well as a forward operating radar at an undisclosed location in the Caucasus. Last year NATO completed a feasibility study which concluded that Europe does face the threat of missile attack and that it is technically possible to build a defense system, but no action has been taken on it. The diplomat said the U.S. shield “influences relations across the Atlantic, relations between NATO and Russia, among the [NATO] allies themselves, and finally influences the system that NATO is studying separately.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted again this week that NATO was the forum to discuss the U.S. plans, but most allies agree that it is a bilateral matter for the countries involved and not one to be debated at the alliance. “There is a procedural problem. First the three countries must finish their discussions. Then NATO can study the question,” a Spanish diplomat said. http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?F=2626857&C=europe [Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on March 19, 2007]

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