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Czech government seeks PR help for US radar

Can spin convince the people?
by Staff Writers
Prague (AFP) Aug 30, 2007
The Czech government plans to hire a public relations company to win over a sceptical public to plans for a US missile defence radar on its soil, a government spokesman said Thursday.

Five companies are competing to steer the campaign which "should be launched in the autumn," radar spokesman Tomas Klvana told the Czech news agency CTK.

Public opinion polls have shown a consistent two-thirds of the Czech public against the idea of hosting a foreign military base, with US President George Bush's fleeting June visit to Prague failing to dent the proportion of doubters.

Centre-right Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek has decided that only lawmakers will vote on the issue, arguing that the complicated radar question and issues of national security are not suited for a national referendum.

The US wants to site a radar in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in neighbouring Poland as a defence against an attack from "rogue" states such as Iran. The proposal has sparked anger and hostility from Russia and divisions within the European Union and NATO.

Czech president Vaclav Klaus warned meanwhile that narrow support from lawmakers was not enough.

"It is not sufficient to rely on such a thing being decided by a parliamentary vote where there is a 101-99 ratio in favour," Klaus said, referring to the likely balance of lower house lawmakers over the radar issue. Such thin backing would "create room for different potential problems in the future," Klaus added following a meeting with US Republican congressman and missile defence backer, Trent Franks.

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ABM Radar To Bring In The Bucks
Moscow (UPI) Aug 30, 2007
Azerbaijan, the United States and Russia will meet in Baku in early September for consultations on the joint use of the Gabala radar.

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