updated 8/23/2007 5:45:21 AM ET 2007-08-23T09:45:21

Austria’s defense minister said a planned U.S. missile shield defense system in eastern Europe was a “provocation,” and called on Washington to abandon the project, according to a news report published Thursday.

Norbert Darabos told Die Presse that U.S. officials should instead seek a compromise with those who oppose the system, including Russia and some in Europe.

“I regard it as a provocation,” Darabos said in the interview, excerpts of which were released late Wednesday. He reportedly accused Washington of “unnecessarily reviving old Cold War debates.”

The United States argues that the system, which would include 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar based in the Czech Republic, would help guard against a potential threat from Iran.

Russia has voiced outrage at the plans and warned it could spark a new arms race.

Opposition also remains high in the two former Soviet satellites, both of which are now members of NATO and the European Union.

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