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US scrapping Bush's European missile defense plan

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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 09:18 AM
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US scrapping Bush's European missile defense plan
US scrapping Bush's European missile defense plan

Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration is shelving an Eastern European missile defense plan that has been a major irritant in relations with Russia, a U.S. ally said Thursday. The Pentagon confirmed a "major adjustment" of the system designed to guard against Iranian missiles.

Jan Fischer, the prime minister of the Czech Republic, told reporters that President Barack Obama phoned him overnight to say the U.S. "is pulling out of plans to build a missile defense radar on Czech territory."

The U.S. still intends to provide security and defenses, but wants to rework or revamp how it is done -- based on other technologies and the new threat assessment, said a senior defense official speaking anonymously to be able to discuss the plan before a scheduled Pentagon news conference later Thursday.

As President Barack Obama prepared to make a public statement, two defense officials said that a new administration assessment concludes Iranian medium- and short-range missiles are a greater threat than long-range missiles. They said the U.S. will lay out a plan that reconfigures defenses for the region, including possibly the use of ship-based missiles.

"We have made a new threat assessment, so we're revising the architecture to meet the short and medium ballistic missile threat from Iran. The new system will be more adaptable, mobile, and defensible," a third U.S. official said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the moves had not yet been announced officially.

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