US to set up anti-missile site in Europe: Report
Poland and the Czech Republic are among the nations under consideration as possible sites, NYT reported on Monday.india Updated: May 22, 2006 10:42 IST
The United States is moving to establish a new anti-missile site in Europe designed to stop attacks by Iran against the US and its European allies,
The New York Times
reported on Monday.
The newspaper said the administration's proposal calls for installing 10 missile interceptors at a European site by 2011.
Poland and the Czech Republic are among the nations under consideration as possible sites, the report said.
A recommendation on a European site is expected to be made this summer to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, said the paper citing unnamed Pentagon officialsy.
The Pentagon has asked Congress for 56 million dollars to begin initial work on the long-envisioned antimissile site, a request that has run into some opposition in Congress, The Times said.
The final cost, including the interceptors themselves, is estimated at 1.6 billion dollars.
The paper said the establishment of an anti-missile base in Eastern Europe would have enormous political implications.
The deployment of interceptors in Poland, for example, would create the first permanent American military presence on that nation's soil and further solidify the close ties between the defense establishments of the two nations, the report said.
While the plan has been described in Congressional testimony and In published reports, it has received relatively little attention in the United States, according to The paper.
But it is a subject of lively discussion in Poland and has also prompted Russian charges that Washington's hidden agenda is to expand the American presence in the former Warsaw Pact nation, The Times said.
In a separate article on relations between the United States, Iran and Europe, The Times also reported that four of the biggest European banks have started curbing their activities in Iran, prodded by the United States with threats of fines and lost business.
The four banks -- UBS and Credit Suisse banks of Switzerland, ABN Amro of the Netherlands, and HSBC, based in London -- have made varying levels of disclosure about the limits on their activities in Iran in the past six months, the paper said.
Almost all large European banks have branches or bureaus in the United States that are subject to American laws.