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US To Start Talks On Eastern Europe Missile Defence System

Dobris, in the Czech Republic, possible site for 10 interceptor missiles and a radar from the US.

American Missile Defense Deployment In Europe A Threat To Russia
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Jan 23 - Deployment of U.S. radars in the Czech Republic and Poland threatens Russia, the commander of the Space Forces said Monday. The U.S. has long been considering the possibility of deploying elements of a national missile defense system in the Czech Republic and Poland, citing the need to intercept possible intercontinental ballistic missiles launched by so-called "axis of evil" states, namely Iran and North Korea. "Deployment of American radiolocation systems in the Czech Republic and of a position area in Poland is dangerous for Russia," Col.-Gen. Vladimir Popovkin told journalists. "First of all, because our strategic nuclear forces will be visible." The construction of the European part of the U.S. national missile defense system is to cost $1.6 billion over the next five years. Later, the system can be expanded using sea- and space-based elements. Poland has not yet decided whether to allow the deployment of the U.S. missile defense system on its territory. On January 20, the U.S. officially offered to deploy the radar elements of the system in the Czech Republic. If the Czechs agree, the radar can begin operating in 2011.
by Staff Writers
Prague (AFP) Jan 22, 2007
The United States on Monday confirmed it would soon begin formal talks on deploying a missile defence system in eastern Europe, after a senior Russian general described the plan as a "clear threat". "The United States has contacted the Czech Republic and Poland and will begin negotiations on the possible deployment of U.S. missile defense assets on Czech and Polish territory," the US embassy in Prague said in a statement.

"No final decision has been made and no timetable for negotiations has been established; however, the United States and the Czech Republic expect that these negotiations will begin soon."

The system, including 10 interceptor missiles and a radar which US officials have said could be split between the Czech Republic and Poland, is aimed at warding off rocket attacks from North Korea or Iran.

Russian General Vladimir Popovkin, who commands a division of the Russian army in charge of space technology, said earlier Monday that "our analysis shows that the location of the US base would be a clear threat to Russia."

Quoted by ITAR-TASS news agency, he said, "It's doubtful that Iranian or North Korean rockets would go across Poland or the Czech Republic.

"The radar in the Czech Republic would be able to monitor rocket installations in central Russia and the Northern Fleet."

Czech and Polish leaders rejected Russia's fears as groundless.

Czech Defence Minister Vlasta Parkanova retorted that "The Russian Federation is perfectly aware that it is not threatened by this system."

She said the statements coming out of Moscow smacked of "political propaganda."

"I consider the Russians' fears to be absurd," Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said, after announcing Saturday that Washington had asked to start talks on locating part of the system, a radar station, on Czech soil.

Poland's Deputy Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski confirmed that Washington had approached Warsaw over the project, and also dismissed Moscow's claims that the defence system targeted Russia.

"We are now waiting for firm proposals," Waszczykowski was quoted by Poland's PAP news agency as saying.

"The Russians have known for years what projects the Americans have in the making. They were even invited to be part of this system," he said.

US State Department official Daniel Fried said in an interview published in Poland Monday that the United States has entered a "new phase" of talks on the missile proposal.

"We have held very preliminary technical discussions up to now with the Polish authorities. Now, we are moving into a new phase where we will put forward a very concrete, serious proposal," Fried, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, told the Rzeczpospolita daily.

Around two-thirds of Poles are against Poland housing all or part of the US anti-missile defence system, a survey conducted last year showed.

Many in the Czech Republic also oppose it, with several hundred people protesting in Prague Sunday.

Moscow has warned of "negative consequences" if Prague agrees to host the missile system.

"This decision, if taken by the Czechs, will not be without consequences," Andrei Kokoshin, the president of the parliamentary committee for the former Soviet states, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying on Friday.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov said last November that it was a "destabilising" move to which Russia would respond.

earlier related report
US counters Russia over East European missile defense bases
The United States insisted Monday that a proposal to set up anti-missile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic was not a threat to Russia, which has protested the move.

"It's not aimed at Russia, it's aimed at those irresponsible states that may possess these technologies that could threaten our friends and allies, that could threaten the United States," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.

"We are open to missile defense cooperation with Russia, so it's not meant to exclude Russia," McCormack told reporters.

The US embassy in Prague announced earlier Monday that Washington would soon begin formal talks on deploying the missile defense system in the former Soviet bloc nations.

"The United States has contacted the Czech Republic and Poland and will begin negotiations on the possible deployment of U.S. missile defense assets on Czech and Polish territory," the embassy said in a statement.

The State Department's top Europe official, Assistant Secretary of State Dan Fried, was in Poland over the weekend to discuss the issue, officials said.

Russian General Vladimir Popovkin, who commands a division of the Russian army in charge of space technology, earlier Monday said the proposed location of the US base "would be a clear threat to Russia".

He rejected US assertions the system was aimed at warding off attack from North Korea or Iran.

"It's doubtful that Iranian or North Korean rockets would go across Poland or the Czech Republic. The radar in the Czech Republic would be able to monitor rocket installations in central Russia and the Northern Fleet," he said.

McCormack stressed that discussions with the Czech Republic and Poland on the anti-missile base were still at an early stage.

"Numerous discussions and negotiations and consultations will be required to move forward on this plan," he said, adding that the process so far "has been relatively transparent".

"There will be more discussions that are needed with the Czech Republic and Poland in order to actually break ground and pour concrete," he said.

Around two-thirds of Poles are against Poland housing all or part of the US anti-missile defense system, a survey conducted last year showed.

Many in the Czech Republic also oppose it, with several hundred people protesting in Prague Sunday.

earlier related report
Russia sees threat from US plan for missiles in eastern Europe
Moscow (AFP) Jan 22 - A top Russian general on Monday warned that a missile defence system that the United States wants to deploy in eastern Europe would pose a "clear threat" to his country.

The United States confirmed it would soon begin formal talks on deploying the system in the Czech Republic and Poland, aimed at warding off rocket attacks from North Korea or Iran.

But General Vladimir Popovkin, who commands Russia's space forces, said that "our analysis shows that the location of the US base would be a clear threat to Russia."

The system would include 10 interceptor missiles and a radar which could be split between the Czech Republic and Poland.

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

"The radar in the Czech Republic would be able to monitor rocket installations in central Russia and the Northern Fleet."

The US embassy in Prague said in a statement that the United States had contacted the Czech and Polish governments "and will begin negotiations on the possible deployment of US missile defense assets on Czech and Polish territory."

"No final decision has been made and no timetable for negotiations has been established; however, the United States and the Czech Republic expect that these negotiations will begin soon."

Czech and Polish leaders rejected Russia's fears as groundless.

Czech Defence Minister Vlasta Parkanova retorted that "the Russian Federation is perfectly aware that it is not threatened by this system."

She said the statements coming out of Moscow smacked of "political propaganda."

"I consider the Russians' fears to be absurd," Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said. The prime minister on Saturday announced that Washington had asked to start talks on locating part of the system, a radar station, on Czech soil.

Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski confirmed that his government had been approached by Washington for talks and also dismissed Moscow's claims that the defence system targeted Russia.

"The Russians have known for years what projects the Americans have in the making. They were even invited to be part of this system," he said.

US State Department official Daniel Fried, who held talks on the missile plan in Poland at the weekend, said in an interview that the United States had entered a "new phase" of talks on the missile proposal.

"We have held very preliminary technical discussions up to now with the Polish authorities. Now, we are moving into a new phase where we will put forward a very concrete, serious proposal," Fried, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, told the Rzeczpospolita daily.

The US State Department reiterated its view that the missile system was not directed against Russia.

"It's not aimed at Russia, it's aimed at those irresponsible states that may possess these technologies that could threaten our friends and allies, that could threaten the United States," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in Washington.

"We are open to missile defense cooperation with Russia, so it's not meant to exclude Russia," McCormack told reporters.

Around two-thirds of Poles are against Poland housing all or part of the US anti-missile defence system, a survey conducted last year showed.

Many in the Czech Republic also oppose it, with several hundred people protesting in Prague Sunday.

Moscow has warned of "negative consequences" if Prague agrees to host the missile system.

"This decision, if taken by the Czechs, will not be without consequences," Andrei Kokoshin, the president of the Russian parliamentary committee for the former Soviet states, was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying on Friday.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov said in November that it was a "destabilising" move to which Russia would respond.

Source: Agence France-Presse

Related Links
Learn about missile defense at SpaceWar.com

US Requests Official Talks Over Czech Anti-Missile Installation
Prague (AFP) Jan 20, 2007
The United States has asked to start talks on siting part of a controversial anti-missile system on Czech soil, Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said on Saturday. "Late last night we were informed that they would like to launch negotiations over the possible siting of an anti-ballistic missile defence system in our country. Concretely, this would be a radar station," Topolanek announced at a news conference.







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