Argentine media: Lithuania willing to join U.S. anti-missile system if necessary
www.chinaview.cn 2008-07-20 18:11:41
BUENOS AIRES, July 19 (Xinhua) -- Lithuania is willing to allow the United States to deploy an anti-ballistic missile shield on its soil when the need arises, Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus said in an recent interview published on Saturday.
There were currently no negotiations between Lithuania and the U.S. on the missile shield plan, Adamkus told Argentine media in the interview published by Argentina's La Nacion newspaper.
However, Lithuania believes that since the deployment of the anti-missile shield is important to regional stability and security, the country is ready to participate in the anti-missile shield with other allies when it is necessary, according to the La Nacion report.
But according to Russia's Ria-Novosti News Agency, Adamkus has refused to confirm reports that Washington would be allowed to deploy its anti-missile system in Lithuania.
The United States is planning to deploy 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a radar system in the Czech Republic as part of its European missile shield. Russia is strongly opposed to the plan.
Early this month, the Czech Republic and the United States inked a missile shield treaty on the stationing of a U.S. radar base on Czech soil.
The main treaty still needs to be approved by the Czech parliament and President Vaclav Klaus.
During their negotiations on the issue, Warsaw reportedly asked Washington to provide a THAAD or Patriot-type air defense system in exchange for a Polish green light for hosting the silos.
The U.S., on the other hand, has said it would not rule out choosing Lithuania as an alternative host for the missile shield, if there is still no progress in talks with Poland.
Earlier media reports quoted Polish chief negotiator Witold Waszczykowski as saying that the United States was already in talks with Lithuania on the possibility of installing part of a planned missile shield in that country if negotiations with Poland failed.
But Lithuanian Defense Minister Juozas Olekas has denied any negotiations with Washington on the issue.
Poland, the Czech Republic and Lithuania are all NATO members.