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US Pays Czechs To Destroy Cold War Missiles

The modern RBS-70 system produced by Sweden's Saab company will replace the old soviet armaments.
by Staff Writers
Prague (AFP) July 25, 2007
The United States, which hopes to extend its missile defence into the Czech Republic, will help Prague destroy Soviet-made Cold War missiles, vice defence minister Martin Bartak said Wednesday. The Czech Republic, a former communist state and Warsaw Pact member, has a surplus of 1,359 Soviet-made mobile guided anti-aircraft missile systems and 658 mobile launch pads. Washington will contribute 600,000 dollars (435,000 euros) to efforts to destroy the weapons, Bartak said.

The payment is part of US efforts to prevent the proliferation of anti-aircraft missiles.

Prague is progressively replacing the Cold War missiles, now deemed obsolete, with the modern RBS-70 system produced by Sweden's Saab company.

Saab is to deliver 16 anti-aircraft systems by the end of the year for 35 million euros (48 million dollars).

Washington wants the Czech Republic to accept a radar station which, together with 10 interceptor missiles in neighbouring Poland, would extend its anti-missile shield into Central Europe. The shield is to protect the US and its allies against attack from a "rogue state" such as Iran. The proposal has riled Russia and created rifts within NATO.

Last week a poll found that 65 percent of Czechs opposed the plan.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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