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Spain to host US missile defence ships

Spain to host US missile defence ships
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Representatives from Spain, NATO and the US were in Brussels to announce a new agreement in which US anti-missile warships will be based at Rota on the Spanish coast.

The deal is part of President Obama’s Europe wide strategy and backs up ground systems in Romania, Poland and Turkey. The warships are expected to become fully operational in 2018.

“It is an initiative aimed at deterring and it is only defensive and therefore not targeted at anyone. With it, the alliance wants to ensure the protection of all the European territory and its citizens against the growing threat of missiles and states that do not respect the international law,” explained Spanish Prime Minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

That growing threat is seen to be from countries such as Iran and North Korea which are developing longer-range missiles.

North Korea has a nuclear arms programme and the west fears Iran is developing nuclear weapons, Tehran denies this.

The US said this agreement was evidence of their continued commitment to Europe despite defence cuts at home in the USA.