NATO: Euro missile shield worth pursuing

Nov. 25, 2008 at 10:46 AM

PRAGUE, Czech Republic, Nov. 25 (UPI) -- NATO still believes a proposed Eastern European missile defense shield is an important project worth pursuing, an alliance official says.

NATO spokesman James Appathurai said Monday that U.S. efforts to establish an anti-missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic can provide NATO allies with enhanced security against long-range ballistic missile attacks, the Czech news agency CTK reported.

"There is a clear recognition in NATO that the U.S. system … can offer substantial protection to the European allies," Appathurai said, adding that a U.S. shield could be worked into a NATO-wide missile defense system in the future. However, he said, NATO has no current plans for its own anti-missile project, CTK reported.

A treaty signed with the United States to establish a missile shield radar station at the Brdy military district 55 miles southwest of Prague has not been ratified by the Czech Parliament, and public opinion is decisively against the move, the news agency reported.

U.S. officials say the missile shield is meant to counter attacks by "rogue states" such as Iran, but Russia bitterly opposes it, saying it is an attempt to expand NATO's influence.

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