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Missile Defense System Not Aimed At Russia Says US

US Missile Defense Agency chief General Henry Obering.
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Jan 25, 2007
The US missile defense system planned for deployment in eastern Europe is not aimed at Russia and will not pose a threat to its ballistic missiles, the US Missile Defense Agency chief said Thursday. "They (interceptors) are directed toward rogue nations capabilities not obviously sophisticated ballistic missile fleet such as the Russians have," General Henry Obering told a telephone press conference.

The United States on Monday confirmed it would soon begin formal talks with the Czech Republic and Poland on deploying a missile defense system in eastern Europe, designed to intercept missile attacks from Iran and North Korea.

The system calls for 10 interceptor missiles deployed in Poland and a radar station in the Czech Republic.

The Kremlin condemned the US scheme as a "clear threat" to Russia and called for talks with US and European leaders.

"We are talking up to 10 interceptors that we are going to locate for example in Poland. From that location and even working with the radar that we will put for example in the Czech Republic ... we cannot physically catch the Russian interceptors even if we were targeting or were trying to target those missiles," Obering told reporters.

The missile defense system, he added, "doesn't pose a technical threat to the Russian ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) fleet."

The commander of Russia's space forces on Monday warned that the US defence shield would pose a "clear threat" to his country.

"It's doubtful that Iranian or North Korean rockets would go across Poland or the Czech Republic," ITAR-TASS news agency quoted General Vladimir Popovkin as saying.

"(But) the radar in the Czech Republic would be able to monitor rocket installations in central Russia and the (Russian) Northern Fleet," he added.

Obering said the missile interceptor site would be staffed by around 200 individuals.

"The radar site is designed to be unattended for the most part in terms of its operations.

"What we would need there would be contractors to be able to maintain the equipment and maintain the site, and in both locations we would have force protection personnel that would deploy," he added.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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