Europe needs more missile sites - Czech official
16/11/2007 16:19 WASHINGTON, November 16 (RIA Novosti) - A Czech deputy premier said Friday that Europe needs more missile shield sites than the two currently proposed by the United States.
Washington wants to place a radar in the Czech Republic and 10 missile interceptors in Poland to counter a missile threat from so called rogue states like Iran and North Korea. Moscow has responded angrily to the plans, saying the European shield would destroy the strategic balance of forces and threaten Russia's national interests.
"This is a multilevel system and it requires more elements than just two - one in Prague and the other in Poland," Alexander Vondra said. "It requires sensors in space and other radars located closer to the point of the potential attack."
Vondra said that in his opinion there could be an early warning system or radar located closer to Iran, but he doubted whether the alternative proposed by Russia was suitable.
The radars at Gabala, in Azerbaijan, and Armavir, south Russia, were proposed by Moscow as an alternative to the deployment of the U.S. missile shield in Central Europe.
"There is opportunity for cooperation, but it takes two to dance the tango, and I have doubts as to what game [Russian President] Vladimir Putin is playing," Vondra said.
Last month Putin said Russia would take appropriate measures if the U.S. made a unilateral decision on the issue: "If a decision is made without taking Russia's opinion into account, then we will certainly take steps in response, to ensure the security of Russian citizens."
Putin also said that it would be expedient if Russia, the U.S. and Europe met to discuss the need for the missile shield and whether there was even a threat from Iran and North Korea.
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