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US Asks Austria To Shed Cold War Thinking As Czechs Eye Intel Deal

US missile shield a "provocation": Austrian defence minister
US plans to deploy a missile defence shield in Central Europe against Moscow's wishes are a "provocation," Austrian Defence Minister Norbert Darabos said in an interview published Thursday. "The fact that the US now wants to build a defence shield in former eastern Europe is a provocation, in my opinion," Darabos told the daily Die Presse in the interview. "I personally find that the path the US is following here is wrong. It makes no sense to build a missile defence shield in Europe. All it will do is ignite unnecessary and old Cold War debates," he added. The United States insists the missile shield will protect against potential attacks from Iran. But Darabos said: "I don't see that risk. Old spectres are being evoked that we had actually banished." A former conscientious objector, the Social Democrat minister argued that "there must be other ways" to counter the threat from Iran, pointing out that "the US did reach a compromise with North Korea." Darabos added that Austria would probably not send any troops to Darfur as part of a United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission.
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Aug 23, 2007
The United States on Thursday urged Austria to move beyond "Cold War thinking" after Vienna charged that Washington's plans to deploy a missile defense shield in Central Europe against Russia's wishes were a "provocation." We view the Cold War as being over. Such comments are not helpful and we now face a new strategic environment that requires us to move beyond Cold War thinking, said State Department spokesman Gonzo Gallegos.

Austrian Defense Minister Norbert Darabos had said in an interview published Thursday that the US plans to build the defense shield was "a provocation, in my opinion."

"I personally find that the path the US is following here is wrong. It makes no sense to build a missile defence shield in Europe. All it will do is ignite unnecessary and old Cold War debates," he told the daily Die Presse.

The United States insists that its plans to install a radar tracking station in the Czech Republic and missile interceptors in Poland will protect against potential missile attacks from Iran.

However, Russia has said that the system would threaten its own security and is campaigning for the United States to drop the plan.

Moscow then urged the United States and NATO to use the Gabala radar station in the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan instead of having a shield in central Europe.

Gallegos said that the missile system under discussion with Poland and the Czech Republic "is solely defensive in nature and is directed at emerging threats from the Middle East.

"We've been open and transparent with all EU and NATO allies on this, and we'll continue to do so," he said.

Experts from the United States and Russia met last month to evaluate the Moscow's proposal.

They were the first talks among the technical experts since US President George W. Bush agreed to study the Moscow plan first raised by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G8 summit in Germany in June.

"We're going to be holding our second round of these meetings to discuss potential missile defense cooperation in mid-September," Gallegos said.

earlier related report
Czech minister wants US radar information shared
The Czech Republic said Thursday it wants the US, which hopes to install a radar system on Czech soil, to grant it a similar deal to Britain which gets to share sensitive information with Washington.

"The radar station here should be under similar conditions to those in Britain," Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg told Czech TV in an apparent reference to the Fylindales radar station sited in Yorkshire, northern England.

The British-based Cold War nuclear warning system has been upgraded to form a part of the US early missile warning shield with information from the station shared between London and Washington.

Washington wants to site a radar in the Czech Republic, twinned with interceptor missiles in neighbouring Poland, to defend itself and European allies against the threat of an attack from "rogue" states such as Iran.

Schwarzenberg warned in the interview that the missile threat is real. "Iran is already testing missiles," he said, adding that the country has "a very highly developed technical potential."

He was quizzed earlier by Czech lawmakers over the conditions that Prague will demand from the US over hosting its controversial tracking radar. A fresh round of negotiations is due to begin in September.

The US plans to extent its missile defence shield into former Soviet satellite states in Central Europe have aroused hostility from Russia and misgivings in other European countries.

Austria's foreign minister described the move as a "provocation" in a newspaper interview on Thursday. But Schwarzenberg hit back in the television interview saying: "If it (the radar) is not a provocation in England then it is not a provocation here."

Source: Agence France-Presse
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Japan courts India to counter China: analysts
New Delhi (AFP) Aug 23, 2007
Japan's bid for a strategic partnership with India aims to counter China's rising influence, with Tokyo omitting Beijing from its vision of an Asian 'arc of freedom', analysts said Thursday.

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