Monday, May 22, 2006

US Moves to Establish Anti-missile Site in Europe

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingWASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States is moving to establish a new anti-missile site in Europe designed to stop attacks by Iran against the US and its European allies.

The New York Times reported the administration's proposal calls for installing 10 missile interceptors at a European site by 2011.

Poland and the Czech Republic are among the nations under consideration as possible sites, the report said.

The Czech Republic has received "no concrete proposal" from the US for locating an antimissile defence base on Czech soil, Ministry of Defence spokesman Andrej Cirtek told AFP.

"The location of this US anti-rocket base on the territory of some European state is just an idea, there is no concrete proposal," he added.

A recommendation on a European site is expected to be made this summer to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, said the paper citing unnamed Pentagon officials.

The Pentagon has asked Congress for 56 million dollars to begin initial work on the long-envisioned antimissile site, a request that has run into some opposition in Congress, The Times said.

The final cost, including the interceptors themselves, is estimated at 1.6 billion dollars.

The paper said the establishment of an anti-missile base in Eastern Europe would have enormous political implications.

The deployment of interceptors in Poland, for example, would create the first permanent American military presence on that nation's soil and further solidify the close ties between the defense establishments of the two nations, the report said.

While the plan has been described in Congressional testimony and in published reports, it has received relatively little attention in the United States, according to the paper.

But it is a subject of lively discussion in Poland and has also prompted Russian charges that Washington's hidden agenda is to expand the American presence in the former Warsaw Pact nation, The Times said.