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NATO official: Deployment of NATO missile shield in Romania out of the question

de V.O.
Duminică, 30 martie 2008, 18:00 English | Regional Europe

Mihai Carp, deputy chief in the Crisis Management Department on the NATO HQ Operations Division, said during a weekly debate hosted by journalist Dan Tapalaga for BBC and this weekend that the NATO missile shield was still in the phase of a feasibility study and that the deployment of some of its elements in Romania was out of the question. Romanian Foreign minister Teodor Melescanu told BBC on Friday that Romania would ask an accord at the NATO summit in Bucharest on April 2-4 over the NATO shield, complementary to the US one which would deploy anti-missile systems in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Commentator Christian Mititelu said during the talk show that he believed these missile shields would not be operational anyway unless a country from the Middle East proved it had the capacity to hit the European continent.

Mihai Carp said the issue of the NATO shield was still in a phase of debates and the first consensus in this regard was that a threat was there to take into account.

*  Mihai Carp: It is an issue that has yet to reach a conclusion, the fact is it is discussed within the Alliance which would the the Alliance position in this regard, what is important is that we all agree there is a threat, there is also an accord within the Alliance than NATO as an organization and not only the United States should develop measures and a policy to confront these real threats and, as the Secretary General put it, that the security of the allies must be seen as one. So should we develop such a shield or take measures as an Alliance, these measures should be for everybody's good use.

Despite the Romanian Foreign minister underlined that the US shield would not protect the Southern flank of NATO, that is Romania, Bulgaria and Greece, Carp says there was no way elements of the complementary shield would be deployed in Romania.

Mihai Carp: Once we conclude the feasibility studies the issue would be further discussed but as far as I know the deployment of such a system on Romanian territory is not even mentioned for now.

Commentator Christian Mititelu believes Romania may play a role in NATO plans for a missile shield only in the long term, as even the US shield due to deploy radar and intercepting systems in the Czech Republic and Poland would only be operational when it'd be clear that a country from the Middle East would prove its capacity to hit the European continent.

The missile shield and NATO enlargement, sensitive issues in relations with Russia

As far as the Russian Federation worries about the missile shield go, the NATO official believes misread the allied measures.

Mihai Carp: I believe major efforts were made by the allies and especially by the US part over the past year or two to make clear that the system was a long-term issue to defend against potential threat that have nothing to do with boosting military presence at the Russian borders. And technically speaking - and I am not an expert in this field - this missile shield would not be able to pose a threat to the Russian Federation.

The same efforts, Carp says, were made to let Russia understand that the NATO enlargement had nothing to do with what the Cold War was about.

Mihai Carp: We've explained repeatedly for years that the NATO enlargement was in favor of stability and security in Europe, we proved over the past two waves that this enlargement did not pose any threat to Russia and that would not happen this time either, should a decision be made in this regard next week.

Carp believes that the accession Albania, Macedonia and Croatia would lead to a strengthened stability in the Balkans: With the enlargement of NATO and the possible inclusion of the three countries the process of Euro-Atlantic integration would go on and would be useful for the stability of the whole region.

Carp insisted that the three countries themselves asked to join NATO and it was not NATO trying to "absorb" them.

Read the transcript of the interview HERE (in Romanian)

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