BUCHAREST, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- Romania's decision to host missile interceptors on its soil will strengthen the strategic partnership between Romania and the United States and Romania will become a key ally within the North Atlantic Alliance and the European Union, Romanian Defense Minister Gabriel Oprea said Wednesday.
"Romania becomes an important landmark within NATO and EU and brings more security not only to the Romanian people but also to the entire south-east Europe," said Oprea after the parliamentary hearings on the topic of missile defense system.
The missile defense system is basically a defensive structure and is not directed against Russia, the minister stressed
Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi, also present in the hearings, said the defense system will provide the protection of the entire national territory and it will not have significant costs for the Romanian side.
According to Baconschi, negotiations alone might last a year and a half and the agreement will be implemented after it is ratified in Parliament.
The two ministers were heard by the commissions on foreign policy and defense in the Deputies' Chamber and the Senate, together with the Intelligence Service director.
Romanian President Traian Basescu announced Thursday that Romania decided to participate in the development of the United States'missile defense system and host components on its territory, adding that the system would be operational by 2015.