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U.S. AEGIS Ashore missile system in Romania certified for operations

DEVESELU, Romania, May 12 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. AEGIS Ashore missile system in Romania is certified for operations, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced Thursday.

"This represents a significant increase in the capability to defend European Allies against ballistic missiles from outside the Euro-Atlantic area," the NATO chief said at the missile defense site at Deveselu, a former air base some 200 km southwest of Bucharest.

"The threat to NATO Allies from ballistic missiles from outside the Euro-Atlantic area is real," said Stoltenberg, stressing "missile defense is essential to our common security."

The new system at Deveselu provides "both a quantitative and qualitative increase in NATO's ballistic missile defense capability and capacity and strengthens NATO defensive capabilities," said U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work.

Romanian Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos considered the Deveselu facility "an essential component" of the strategic partnership with the United States, and stressed that his country demonstrates once more that it is a predictable actor and a trusted ally that seriously carries through its commitment.

According to him, the facility in Romania expands the area covered and protected to allied countries in Southern and Central Europe, significantly reducing the risk of potential attacks with ballistic missiles from outside the Euro-Atlantic space.

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