Romanian and US officials inaugurate at Deveselu location to deploy antimissile system

Romanian and US officials, on Tuesday, were attending an official ceremony at Deveselu, Olt County, the location where elements of the US antimissile shield will be deployed.

Attending the ceremony at Deveselu were Romanian Foreign Ministry (MAE) State Secretary Bogdan Aurescu, the US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs Ellen Tauscher, the heads of the Romanian delegation and of the US delegation respectively, negotiating the agreement on deploying, in Romania's territory, some elements of the American antimissile defense system.

On this special occasion, the Chief of the Romanian Army's General Staff Major General Stefan Danila made a short presentation of the future antimissile shield. He emphasized the importance of the deployment in our country of the antimissile system's elements stressing that they will enhance the security against the current threats, which the short and the medium-range ballistic missiles pose.

It is the United States that pays for the works to achieve the antimissile defense system at Deveselu, and according to US Under Secretary of State Ellen Tauscher they amount to 400 million USD, plus 20 million USD to be annually paid for operation works. The costs do not include the missiles price.

It was President Traian Basescu who announced the location where the American antimissile system is to be deployed, namely the air base at Deveselu, Olt County (southern Romania), and this after the Supreme Council of National Defence convened on Monday.

"We have approved that the location for the antimissile system to be deployed should be the former air base at Deveselu, in Olt County. The air base stays under the Romanian command and part of the area of the base will be used by the American antimissile system. The commander of the base is a Romanian officer, this is no US base, it is a military base of the Romanian Air Forces, which is partially used by the antimissile system too. About 200 American servicemen on average will be deployed to serve the antimissile system. The largest number of servicemen that can be deployed is 500," said the Romanian Head of State in a statement he made at the Cotroceni Palace.

He added that, since February last year, when Romania took the invitation extended by the US to be included in the security programme under consideration, examinations of the appropriate location had been made.

According to the Head of State, several locations have been examined. When making the selection, one had to consider about 120 parameters that had to be met for such a location, for the system to be safe.

He also added that the American antimissile system was a defensive one, meant to defend the territories of Romania and the US, also maintaining that other countries too are to benefit from the system's efficacy.

Traian Basescu also said that the creation of the antimissile defence system was a Romanian-American bilateral understanding.

"By the time the NATO member states develop the antimissile shield, as it was established during the last summit in Lisbon, the Romanian-American component too will be integrated into this system. For the time being it is a bilateral approach to the system. ... In my opinion, by creating this component of the antimissile shield, Romania has reached the highest security level in its history and I think that, from this point of view, we can say that Romania has achieved an important goal, the one meant to guarantee its long-term security, not a security connected to circumstances," explained Basescu.

He reiterated that the elements of the antimissile shield were not directed against the Russian Federation.

The military base at Deveselu, Olt County, on the border with Bulgaria, has no longer been operational and has had a small military structure. It was broken up in 2002. The military airport covers a 500 ha area and is in good condition. Romania's participation involves the deployment of terrestrial interceptors and a radar system to guide them, reads the press file the MAE prepared on the antimissile shield. The target searching finding radar systems will be hosted in other countries.

Romania's involvement is due in the second phase that means to host land-based interceptors, namely Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) interceptor missiles Block 1 B, and the Romanian-based site is expected to become operational in 2015.

Neither will Romania have to buy interceptor missiles SM-3, nor will it have to pay for either their mounting or the grounding of their site on the Romanian territory as the expenses related to the implementation of the PAA will be covered by the USA. Romania will make available the interceptors' site. Any other incidental costs will be subject of bilateral negotiations. Making the anti-missile shield operational as soon as possible will increase the national security, both directly, by protecting the national territory, and indirectly, by deterring such risks. The deterrent role will also decrease the risk of possible attacks by ballistic missiles. 

Source: Romanian National News Agency AGERPRES


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