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US scrapping Bush’s European missile defence plan

world Updated: Sep 17, 2009 23:23 IST

AP
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The Obama administration is shelving an Eastern European missile defence plan that has been a major irritant in relations with Russia, a US ally said on 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 US “is pulling out of plans to build a missile defence radar on Czech territory.”

The missile defence system, planned under the Bush administration, was being built in the Czech Republic and Poland.

Without giving specifics, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said the plan is being changed in part because the US has concluded that Iran is less focused on developing the kind of long-range missiles for which the system was originally developed.

“While the Iranian threat has developed, so too has our technology,” Morrell said.

“We have made a major adjustment and enhancement to our European missile defence system that will better protect our forces deployed in Europe and our allies there from Iranian short and medium-range missiles,” Morrell said.