Germany, Italy protest at US axing of missile defense

MUNICH - Germany and Italy have told theUnited States they expect it to fulfill its obligations after theUS Congress blocked funding for a missile defense programinvolving the three countries, Germany said on Saturday.

A defense bill passed by Congress in December prohibited afinal US payment of $400.9 million for development of theMedium Extended Air and Missile Defense System, known as MEADS,which is being developed by Lockheed Martin withpartners in Italy and Germany. US lawmakers said Washingtonhas no plans to produce the system.

The United States, Italy and Germany have spent about $4billion to develop MEADS over the past decade as a successor tothe Patriot missile defense system.

The White House raised concerns about the bill before itsapproval, warning that a ban on MEADS funding could harmWashington's broader relationship with its allies.

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