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   Arms Control
Vice President Biden, left, expressed appreciation for Romania’s support of the missile defense architecture in October 2009.

Vice President Biden, left, expressed appreciation for Romania’s support of the missile defense architecture in October 2009.

04 February 2010

Romania Agrees to Host Ballistic Missile Interceptor, February 4, 2010

By Stephen Kaufman
Staff Writer

Washington — The Romanian Supreme Defense Council’s agreement February 4 to host a Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) interceptor marks a “first step” in implementing the Obama administration’s revised missile defense plan to protect against short- and medium-range missiles that could be launched from Iran.

Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P.J. Crowley said February 4 that Romania’s decision extends the area of missile defense coverage into southern Europe. The interceptor is expected to be operational by 2015.

It is “a reflection of our strategy to make sure that, as this architecture develops and grows, it will protect all of Europe,” he said.

The new missile defense architecture was first announced by President Obama in September 2009. It envisions a combination of land-based and sea-based SM-3 missile interceptor systems to protect European countries against short-range and intermediate-range missiles.

“We call it the phased adaptive approach to protect U.S. forward-deployed troops and our NATO allies against … ballistic missile threats from Iran,” Crowley said. The defense capability is not directed against Russia, he added.

“We’re going to protect our interests and those of our allies,” he said. “We see this emerging threat … coming to the region from Iran.”

The United States will have further discussions with other European countries “as the architecture evolves,” Crowley said, mentioning that Poland has agreed in principle to host the northern land SM-3 missile site and its discussions with the Obama administration on the topic are ongoing.

During Vice President Biden’s October 2009 visit to Eastern Europe, he held discussions with Polish and Czech leaders, as well as with Romanian President Traian Basescu on the new missile defense architecture.

Speaking in Bucharest October 22, the vice president expressed his appreciation to Basescu for his government’s embrace of the plan. “It is a much better architecture. It has the benefit of protecting Europe physically, as well as the United States,” Biden said.

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