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Brits Not Yet Talking About Hosting US Interceptors

At the Pentagon on April 6, British Defense Minister John Reid said the issue of Britain hosting missile interceptors as part of the U.S. missile defense program had not come up in talks with Rumsfeld. When asked why the two sides had not held discussions despite the MDA's desire to make a decision by October, Reid replied: "You'd have to ask them."
by Martin Sieff
UPI Senior News Analyst
Washington (UPI) Apr 12, 2006
British Defense Minister John Reid has denied that Washington and London have discussed the possibility of Britain hosting missile interceptors as part of the U.S. missile defense program, the London Financial Times reported.

U.S. Lt. Gen. Henry "Trey" Obering III, the head of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, told a conference in Washington last month that Britain was one of three candidates -- along with Poland and the Czech Republic -- to host missile interceptors in Europe. Pentagon and British defense officials said at the time there had been no discussions between the countries.

The missile interceptors, which would be placed in Europe by 2010, would be part of the ballistic missile defence system, for which U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is a strong advocate. Any European site would be the third location for interceptors, in addition to Alaska and California.

A Pentagon spokesman confirmed April 6 that the Missile Defense Agency was hoping to make a decision by October on whether, and where, to deploy interceptors in Europe. In spite of the fact that the Britain was listed in an MDA document as a possible host site, Reid said no discussions had taken place.

Speaking in Washington on April 5, Reid acknowledged that any decision to place interceptors in Britain would require consultations between the two governments. But Reid emphasized that the United States had not made any requests to the British government.

At the Pentagon on April 6, Reid said the issue had not come up in talks with Rumsfeld. When asked why the two sides had not held discussions despite the MDA's desire to make a decision by October, Reid replied: "You'd have to ask them." Rumsfeld said the MDA had not yet presented him with any specific proposals, the Financial Times said.

Source: United Press International

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