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News 18 Mar 13

US Missile Shield Changes Worry Romania

The Obama administration's announcement on Friday that it is abandoning the last phase of its European missile defence plan is causing concern in US ally Romania.

Marian Chiriac
Bucharest

Romania has expressed concern after the US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel last Friday announced a restructuring of plans to deploy missiles in Poland and possibly Romania early next decade.

The United States has now cancelled the final phase - phase four - of its European missile shield plan owing to development problems and a lack of money.

The cancellation is part of a restructuring plan, which includes spending $1 billion to add 14 new interceptors to the 26 that are in underground silos in Alaska by 2017.

However, on Satuday the US embassy in Romania said Washington remained "committed to the program as envisioned for European Phased Adaptive Approach, EPAA Phases 1-3".

Development of planned missile defence sites in Romania and Poland remains on schedule and on budget, the embassy added.

Bucharest meanwhile says work on the missile site in Romania is scheduled to begin this year. “Following consultations with our US counterparts, we were assured that work at Deveselu base is to start as planned,” the Romanian Foreign Ministry said.

In May 2011, Romania announced plans to turn an air base in Deveselu, a small village in south of the country, into part of the US defence system in Europe.

Deveselu will host interceptor missiles following an estimated investment of $400 million in the base. Some 200 troops will be based at the site, which can host a maximum of 500.

The base will remain under under the command of the Romanian Air Force.

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