NATO to Install Missile Shield Elements in Bulgaria - Report
A radar system designed to detect Iranian missiles may be installed in Bulgaria by the end of 2013as a part of NATO's anti-missile shield, according to a Bulgarian paper.
This has been revealed by a report prepared by NATO official Raymond Knopp, which will be presented at the at the spring session of NATO Parliamentary Assembly starting Friday in the Bulgarian Black Sea capital Varna, the Bulgarian Standart daily claims. The Alliance has allegedly decided to locate the radar system on the Botev Peak in the Balkan Range.
The NATO and US decision to install has reportedly been provoked by difficulties experienced in negotiations with Turkey on the installment of radar systems there.
On May 5 2011, Bulgaria's Defense Minister, Anyu Angelov, declared the Balkan country will not be hosting elements of the US and NATO missile defense system in Europe, at least for the time being
The original missile defense in Europe plan of George W. Bush administration provided for stationing interceptors in Poland and the radar station in the Czech Republic. The modification of the plan by the Obama Administration switched it to sea-borne missiles and, later on, locations in southeastern Europe. Initially, there were reports and expectations that Romania and Bulgaria will replace Poland and the Czech Republic, respectively.
During its summit in November 2010 in Lisbon, NATO agreed to adopt the previously purely US missile shield project as its own. The summit did cast some serious doubts over Turkey's participation in the missile defense system because it insisted that its Muslim neighbor Iran should not be mentioned as a source of threat in the respective documents, and eventually prevailed.
The newly announced US Ballistic Missile Defense site in Romania is approximately 430 acres (175 hectares) and is located within the existing Romanian Air Base at Deveselu.
A year ago, US Undersecretary of State Ellen Tauscher, declared that the United States has not asked Bulgaria to locate elements of the missile defense in Europe on its territory.
Bulgarian President, Georgi Parvanov, recently stated the country must become part of NATO missile defense, but the public will have to be informed with precision and detail. In a rare move, Defense Minister, Anyu Angelov, joined the President in this opinion.
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