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Czech Government Says No To US Missile Shield Referendum

by Staff Writers
Prague (AFP) Jan 31, 2007
Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolonek said Wednesday his government opposed holding a referendum on plans for the United States to build part of an anti-missile shield in the country. "We do not recommend the referendum", he was quoted as saying by the Czech news agency CTK, as he formally presented the issue to members of four parliamentary committees meeting in joint session.

On January 20 Washington officially asked Prague to accept a radar station as part of its anti-ballistic missile shield and Warsaw to agree to take anti-missile interceptors.

"The decision-making power is entirely in the hands of the parliamentarians," Defence Minister Vlasta Parkanova told the joint session.

An agreement needs the consent of two thirds of the two houses of the Czech parliament and is far from certain in view of the vigorous reaction to the US request.

Meanwhile the Czech government is preparing its official response to the United States, probably backing the opening of talks, Topolanek said.

They will last until the end of the year and if they end in an agreement with the United States building work on the radar station will begin in 2008 to 2010 and the first tests will be conducted in 2011-12, he said.

In the talks Prague will not follow Warsaw's reported example and ask for Patriot anti-missile missiles to protect its territory, Czech media reported.

"We shall not ask for Patriots," Deputy Foreign Minister Tomas Pojar said, according to CTK.

But Topolanek, questioned by the agency, did not rule out including the issue in the talks. The Russian foreign ministry said recently that deployment of elements of the shield in the Czech Republic and Poland would be a "mistake" and would have "negative consequences for international security".

Source: Agence France-Presse

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US Missile Defense In Europe Could Threaten Russia
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Feb 01, 2007
Although elements of a missile defense system the U.S. plans to deploy in Europe would not present an immediate danger to Russia, they could threaten the country in the future, a Russian expert said Wednesday. Washington officially proposed placing a radar network in the Czech Republic on January 20, and two days later announced plans to start formal talks with Poland on the deployment of anti-ballistic missile systems on its territory.

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