The elements of the missile shield – 24 missiles – will be deployed at Deveselu, a former army base in the Olt County, and will become operational in 2015, President Traian Basescu announced yesterday.
“Several locations have been analysed. I can tell you that such a location has to meet about 120 parameters, for the system to be completely safe. Eventually, the former air base of Deveselu, Olt County, was selected to host the missile defence system and we approved the choice,” Traian Basescu said. The local authorities of the Olt County already agreed to the move. The mayor of Deveselu, Gheorghe Baciu said he was invited Monday evening to Cotroceni, where Traian Basescu informed him about the missile shield, and he agreed
According to the head of state, in a first phase of the operation 200 US troops will be stationed at Deveselu, but the air base will stay under the control of the Romanian Air Forces. “The commander of the base is a Romanian officer. This is not an American army base; it is a base of the Romanian Air Forces that will be partly used for the anti-missile system,” he explained.
“The US missile shield is a defensive system, aimed at the defence against ballistic missiles, and does not have an offensive role. Other countries too rely on its effectiveness. The system will be installed based on a US-Romanian agreement. (…) In my opinion, by achieving this component of the shield, Romania is at the highest security level in its history. And, from this point of view, Romania met the important goal of having its security guaranteed on a long term, rather than just conjecturally,” said the president.
According to Realitatea.net, the Deveselu base (photo) has a military airfield that covers about 500 hectares of land. MoD officials said the unit was decommissioned and mothballed in 2002.
In its meeting, the Supreme Defence Council (CSAT) also approved the US request to use the Mihail Kogalniceanu Airport and the Constanta Port as transit infrastructures for the transport of troops and military hardware to Iraq and Afghanistan, and from these two countries to Europe.
“CSAT approved the use of the Mihail Kogalniceanu Airport and the Constanta Port for the transit to and from Iraq and Afghanistan. Thus, Kogalniceanu and the Constanta Port become strategic infrastructures for the United States too, not only for Romania. The process will undergo authorisation process in the first two months, then it will run without American supervision, under the agreement between Romania and the United States,” the president explained. With one of the Mediterranean bases undergoing an upgrade process, four US tanker planes and four C17 aircraft will be temporarily stationed on the Kogalniceanu Airport, he added. “This is just a temporary measure, but the transit is a long-term matter,” Basescu said.
The letters about the missile shield location and the transit through Kogalniceanu and Constanta Port were due to be sent to Parliament yesterday.