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Clinton hails Romania's willingness to host U.S. missiles

RIA Novosti

04:17 02/06/2010

WASHINGTON, June 2 (RIA Novosti) - Romania's readiness to host U.S. missile defense systems demonstrates its 'serious' attitude to global security, U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has said.

"We are very pleased Romania has agreed to host elements of the phased adaptive approach to missile defense in Europe as we pursue this shared goal," Clinton said after a meeting with Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi in Washington on Tuesday.

"This decision highlights the seriousness with which Romania approaches its role in NATO and its commitment to enhancing global security," the U.S. secretary of state said.

She described the talks, which focused on "the main bilateral topics on our agenda," as "excellent."

In February, Romania and Bulgaria said they were in talks with U.S. President Barack Obama's administration on deploying elements of the U.S. missile shield on their territories from 2015.

The move came after Obama suspended last September plans by the Bush administration to deploy missile-defense elements in the Czech Republic and Poland due to a reassessment of the threat from Iran. Russia fiercely opposed the plans as a threat to its national security.

Last week, the U.S. opened a temporary military base near the northern Polish town of Morag, 80 km (50 miles) from the Russian border, in accordance with an agreement negotiated under former President George Bush in 2008.

The U.S. troops will be deployed at the base to train Polish forces until 2012, when the base is expected to become permanent. The move has brought a strong reaction from Moscow, which is particularly displeased by its proximity to Russia's Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad.

Russia has suggested the base be moved away from the borders, and the Foreign Ministry has said that the deployment does not enhance regional security and cooperation.

In late April, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said that Moscow was interested in cooperation with NATO on issues of anti-missile defense in Europe.

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