Cabinet approves US anti-missile system for Cádiz military base

Zapatero first agreed to allow Washington to install the shield, set to remain in place until at least 2020

The Cabinet on Friday gave its approval for the United States to install an anti-missile shield at the military base in Rota, Cádiz, where US armed forces are stationed.

In approving the resolution, the government has given Defense Minister Pedro Morenés the authority to negotiate and sign the protocol of the joint US-Spanish treaty with US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at next week’s NATO meeting in Brussels.

Moranés and Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo, have asked to appear before Congress on October 11 to explain to lawmakers what the treaty entails.

According to the pre-agreement reached in July by Spanish and US officials, the United States will bring in four Arleigh Burke guided missile destroyers (DDGs), with an additional 1,100 military officers in 2014. The total number of US military personnel will not surpass the ceiling of 4,750 officers, which is established in the current Spanish-US treaty.

The “main mission” of the DDGs will be to stop any potential attacks by Iran or North Korea and will also help NATO enforce security across Europe.

In October 2011, then-Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero agreed to allow the United States install the anti-missile shield after consulting with then-opposition leader and today’s prime minister, Mariano Rajoy.

A new amendment to the existing treaty states that the protocol will stay in effect until 2020. In the past, the joint treaty was automatically renewed on a year-by-year basis.

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