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Posted: 10/16/2004 6:39:58 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/16/2004 6:40:40 PM EDT by vito113]
PM 'agrees to host US missiles'

American interceptor missiles are to be stationed on British soil after Tony Blair agreed a secret deal with the United States, it has been reported.

The Independent on Sunday says Downing Street has agreed in principle to a Pentagon request to base missiles at RAF Fylingdales in North Yorkshire.

The weapons would allow the US to destroy incoming missiles and form part of the Son of Star Wars defence system.

But a Ministry of Defence spokesman said no decision had yet been made.

'Deal' in May

RAF Fylingdales is being upgraded with new technology

Work has already started on a £449m ($820m) project to upgrade RAF Fylingdales to make it part of the US anti-missile defence programme.

But until now, the government has only confirmed it will allow the US to use early warning radar at the base.

Missiles are currently being located by the US in Alaska and California, but it is thought the Pentagon wants to station more in Europe.

Workmen install an interceptor missile in Alaska

In August the Danish Government signed a deal to allow a radar base in Greenland to be used but the US did not ask to site missiles.

According to the Independent on Sunday, the deal to permit missiles was brokered in Washington last May by senior official from the British Embassy and the US State Department.

It is reported the British agreed the deal in principle, but asked that it be kept under wraps until after the next election.

'Grave concern'

A spokesman for the MoD told the Press Association no decision had yet been made.

He said: "The UK has not yet decided whether we need our own missile defence.

"This is a decision for the future when the US system has further evolved."

Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman Sir Menzies Campbell said: "These reports, if true, are a source of grave concern given that a decision appears to have been taken behind closed doors before a full public debate on the costs and strategic implications.

"This could have major implications for the defence posture of the UK, our relationship with NATO countries and other allies."

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