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US Offers Reassurance Over Missile Shield Plan As Technical Cooperation Hinted At

Lieutenant General Trey Obering, head of the US Missile Defence Agency.

American Envoy Offers BMD Cooperation To Russia
Tyumen (UPI) March 07 - The U.S. ambassador to Russia has offered Moscow a new dialogue to boost cooperation on ballistic missile defense. U.S. Ambassador to Moscow William Burns said during a visit to Siberia that the U.S. and Russian governments should hold ongoing bilateral talks to explain their conflicting stands on BMD issues and to try and deal with their differences on them, the RIA Novosti news agency reported Tuesday. Burns repeated the Bush administration's position that building a new radar installation in the Czech Republic and a new anti-ballistic missile interceptor base in Poland to protect European nations from the threat of nuclear missiles launched by so-called "rogue" states would not endanger Russia's national security. He even offered the possibility that Washington and Moscow could start a new cycle of cooperation on BMD, the report said.

However, Burns also made other comments certain to anger the Kremlin. He said that the desire of two former Soviet republics, Georgia and Ukraine, to join the U.S.-led NATO alliance was an expression of the desire of the governments and populations of both nations. Burns referred to the NATO-Russia Council as a relevant mechanism to try and defuse conflicts between the two powers over such issues, the report said. Burns' comments came after senior U.S. officials had said they wanted to prioritize improving relations with Russia. But as the ambassador's comments indicated no softening of the U.S. position on BMD bases and Ukraine and Georgia that have so angered the Kremlin, they look unlikely to have any appreciable impact.

by Staff Writers
London (AFP) March 07, 2007
The head of the United States Missile Defence Agency moved to reassure Russia Wednesday over a planned missile defence system, parts of which could be sited in eastern Europe. Russia has reacted angrily to a US announcement in January that Washington had started talks with Poland and the Czech Republic on installing a radar and 10 missile interceptors. But Lieutenant General Trey Obering told the Financial Times that Russia had no cause for alarm.

"We would not have chosen Poland or the Czech Republic if our criteria were to try to somehow offset the Russian ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) advantage," he said.

"We would have moved it farther west so that we could again give us more time to do that tracking and targeting."

Obering indicated that the Russians could be rightly alarmed if the shield was set in Britain, where Prime Minister Tony Blair favours hosting part of the so-called Son of Star Wars scheme.

"If they (the Russians) are concerned about us targeting their intercontinental ballistic missiles, I think that would be problematic from the UK because I believe we probably could catch them from a UK launch site," he added.

The US deputy chief of mission in London, David Johnson, has said, though, that Britain is not the main focus of the plans and described Poland and the Czech Republic as "the primary sites" under consideration.

Senior figures in Russia's military have warned that Russia could aim missiles at Poland and the Czech Republic if it allowed parts of the missile shield on their soil.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Aerojet To Build THAAD Boost Motors
Rancho Cordova CA (UPI) Mar 08, 2007
The Aerojet aerospace company in California is about to commence the building of boost motors for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, the Sacramento Business Journal reported Monday. The work will be carried out as part of a contract with Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor for the project the newspaper said. Aerojet is a division of GenCorp Inc., and is located in Rancho Cordova, Calif.

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