Czech Republic to host part of new missile defence shield
The Czech Republic is likely to host part of the US anti-missile defence shield in Europe. The American administration has officially asked the US Congress to fund the early warning program. Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas confirmed the news on Friday, saying that the new centre could be positioned in Prague or in its vicinity. If approved, the project could be launched before the end of the year.
“After the change in the concept of missile defence, negotiations have continued about involving US allies into the program. The new program should eventually be part of the NATO missile defence. It’s no super military installation or an army base; the centre should gather information and pass it on.”
Daniel Anýž from the daily Hospodářské noviny which broke the story explains how the system should work.
The early warning centre should be operated by the Czech military. That is one of the reasons the Czech government might not have to ask Parliament for approval. The opposition Social Democrats said on Friday they have no major objections to the idea – but Daniel Anýž believes Mr Nečas should take the matter to the Czech Parliament anyway.
The Czech initiative No to Bases campaigned strongly against the former plans to build a radar base in this country and gathered around 170,000 signatures on a petition calling for the project to be scrapped. The initiative’s spokesman Jan Májíček says they are ready to swing into action again.
Are you planning any protests? Are you going to renew your activities in connection with the latest news?
“Definitely. We are now in the middle of preparations for protests against this plan and we will use any opportunity to protest because we believe it’s very important. I’d like to say that 70 percent of Czech citizens disagreed with the former plan to build a radar base in the Czech Republic, and this station, or a new base, is supposed to be established without the approval of the Czech Parliament; it will probably be just an agreement between the Czech and US governments. That is absolutely unacceptable.”
The original plans of the administration of George W. Bush for positioning a radar base in the Czech Republic were also vigorously opposed by Russia. Officials in Moscow have not yet commented on the new plan.