From Kate Brannen, DefenseNews: Italian Defense Minister Adm. Giampaolo Di Paola said the United States should respect the commitment it made to a tri-national missile defense program it began several years ago with Italy and Germany.
If the United States walked away from the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) now, it would leave its two allies, who have made substantial financial investments, with their hands tied, Di Paola said, speaking April 30 at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
“There was a commitment, which has been taken by the three sides together, and each one of the sides should respect that commitment,” Di Paola said.
“We are asking the United States to respect its commitment and we will respect ours. . . .”
[T]he United States should respect that Germany and Italy have made sizable contributions to the program for European standards, he said.
It is especially important for the United States not to walk away from the program early, because MEADS will be part of the European contribution to missile defense, Di Paola said.
The Italian defense minister said he hopes the United States sees the program through the end of its concept phase.
“At that point, you will be free and we, the European partners, can decide whether to go forward,” Di Paola said. (photo: La Politica Italiana)