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UK urged to pull out of US missile defence program

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, Nov 17, IRNA
UK Lib Dems-US Missile Defence
The British government was urged Saturday by the Liberal Democrats not to allow the US to station part of its controversial Ballistic Missile Defence programme at bases in the UK.

"It is time for Britain to wake up to the damaging geo-strategic effects of unilateral Missile Defence and pull out of our deal with America," the party's prospective new leader Nick Clegg said.

"Russia's threats to place more short range nuclear missiles on the borders of the European Union in response to the US Ballistic Missile Defence programme raise the spectre of the Cold War returning to Europe," Clegg said.

His call come after the Lib Dem warned Prime Minister Gordon Brown this week that the British government could repeat the strategic mistakes with regard to Iran that led to the debacle in Iraq.

In a letter to the Daily Telegraph Saturday, Clegg said the latest escalation of rhetoric from Russia makes it clear that Ballistic Missile Defence is having a profoundly destabilising impact on international relations and arms control, and risks creating a 21st-century "arms race."

"America is, of course, a vital ally of Britain, but it was a serious mistake to sign up to Missile Defence so unquestioningly.

Britain is not the 51st state. We must act in our own national interests, not just accede to the demands of the Pentagon," he said.

Clegg, who is currently the Lib Dem's shadow home secretary, is firm favourite to replace Sir Menzies Campbell as the party's new leader next month. On Thursday, he was voted 'Newcomer of the Year' in the Spectator's annual parliamentary awards.


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