Proliferation News
» October 6, 2011

Spain To Host U.S. Ships for NATO Missile Defense

Julian Hale | Defense News

Fereydoon Abbasi

Spain and the U.S. have announced that Spain will provide a base for U.S. ships in support of NATO's missile defense system. The Oct. 5 agreement was announced by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at NATO headquarters in the margins of a meeting of NATO defense ministers here Oct. 5 and 6.

Under the agreement, four U.S. Aegis ships will be based at the Rota naval base near Cadiz in Spain. The agreement is part of U.S. President Barack Obama's phased adaptive approach to missile defense, under which ship-based, anti-ballistic missiles are being deployed in the eastern Mediterranean followed by ground-based systems in Romania and Poland.

The agreement "reflects a commitment of both countries to the alliance" and marks "an important step forward to protect NATO territories against missile threats," Rasmussen said. "It is smart defense at its best," he said, describing it as "countries working together and sharing together to provide something that benefits us all."

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