U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday announced abandonment of the controversial missile defense shield program in Eastern Europe, saying a "new approach" will deploy effective technologies against missile threat from Iran.
US President Barack Obama on Thursday announces abandonment of the missile defense shield program in Eastern Europe at a brief news conference in the White House. [Xinhua]
"This new approach will provide capabilities sooner, build on proven systems and offer greater defenses against the threat of missile attack than the 2007 European missile defense program," Obama said at a brief news conference in the White House.
Obama's predecessor George W. Bush and his administration planned to deploy 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a radar system in the Czech Republic as part of its European missile shield, in a so-called prevention its European allies from missile threat by "rouge state."
Russia strongly opposes the measure, saying it poses threat to its security.
Looking for Russia's cooperation on dealing with challenges, such as financial crisis, proliferation, climate change, terrorism, the Obama administration has vowed to "press the reset button" with Moscow through more bilateral strategic cooperation and conversation.
However, like his predecessor, President Obama still stresses missile threat from Iran, reiterates the necessity of missile defense deployment in Europe.
"President Bush was right that Iran's ballistic missile program poses a significant threat. And that's why I'm committed to deploying strong missile defense systems which are adaptable to the threats of the 21st century."
According to Obama, the U.S. new missile defense architecture in Europe will provide "stronger, smarter and swifter defenses of American forces and America's allies."
Echoing Obama's remark, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday that the United States would deploy Aegis ships equipped with interceptors to defend U.S. forces and allies against ballistic missile threats.
"We have now the opportunity to deploy new censors and interceptors in northern and southern Europe that near term can provide missile defense coverage against more immediate threats from Iran or others," said Gates
(Xinhua News Agency September 18, 2009)