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President Traian Basescu, the Romanian Foreign Affairs Minister and the US Embassy in Bucharest offer assurances that the United States remains committed to completing the missile defense shield in Europe and the construction works’ timetable of the Deveselu base will remain unchanged.
President Traian Basescu stated on Sunday that in his opinion there is no risk for the deployment of the US missile shield components in Deveselu, Olt County, to be stopped by the US because of the shield’s inefficiency in the face of Iranian attacks, the only risk consisting of Romania being labeled “an unpredictable state.”
The missile shield is scheduled to become operational in 2015.
“I hope we won’t get that label in the following period. So my opinion is that we don’t have that kind of risk,” Basescu stated, being quoted by Mediafax. The President was asked to comment on the recent press reports that pointed to articles recently published by the American press, articles citing classified US Department of Defense studies that questioned the fact that the missile defense system that will be deployed to Europe will be able to protect the US from Iranian missiles.
In order to eliminate any kind of speculations on this issue, the Romanian Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE) announced that it had a series of “contacts of clarification with the American side,” including a phone conversation between Romanian Secretary of State Bogdan Aurescu and Frank Rose, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Space and Defense Policy.
“From these contacts and talks it clearly resulted that the American side continues to be firmly committed to the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA), a missile defense project that already ensures the initial protection of NATO members and American troops deployed in Europe. Likewise, that the plans and timetable agreed for rendering the Deveselu site operational will continue as they were agreed, not being contested by the Government Accountability Office’s briefing for the US Congress,” a communiqué posted on the MAE’s website reads. MAE underlines that according to the American side, the briefing is not public yet and at any rate does not necessarily express the position of the US Congress, adding that “the available information does not show that the briefing would call into question the EPAA as a whole, the site in Romania (the Deveselu base) being destined from the start of the EPAA’s design to protect the territory, population and allied forces in Europe, including those of the US.” The MAE also points out that so far “the American Congress has ensured consistent financing for the Deveselu project, being as clear as possible that this financing will continue.”
The information offered by the MAE was later confirmed by the US Embassy in Bucharest, which announced that the US remains committed to the missile shield in Europe and the construction works’ timetable at the Deveselu base in Romania will remain unchanged. The American Embassy on the other hand refused to comment on the recent press reports about an alleged classified US Defense Department report whose synopsis was presented by the Government Accounting Office: “We understand that the alleged GAO report on the missile defense shield is preliminary and classified. No final and declassified report has been published. We cannot confirm nor comment on the alleged report. But, in a wider context, we can state that the US is committed to protecting its territory and citizens and our troops deployed abroad and our allies and partners from the threat of ballistic missile attacks,” the US Embassy points out in a communiqué sent to Mediafax.