US, Czech Republic agree on missile shield

April 3rd, 2008 - 8:22 pm ICT by admin  

Bucharest, April 3 (DPA) The US and the Czech Republic agreed Thursday to site elements of a US anti-ballistic missile system on Czech soil, the two sides confirmed in a joint statement. “The United States and the Czech Republic are pleased to announce the completion of negotiations on a missile defence agreement. We plan to sign the agreement in the near future,” said the statement released on the fringes of the NATO summit in Bucharest.

“This legally binding agreement calls for the stationing of a US radar in the Czech Republic to track ballistic missiles. The radar will be linked to other US missile defence facilities in Europe and the US,” the statement said.

The agreement could be signed early next month, Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg told journalists after meeting his US counterpart, Condoleezza Rice, on the sidelines of the NATO summit.

The statement also stressed the deal’s relationship with NATO systems, saying that it would make a “substantial contribution to NATO’s collective capability to counter existing and future threats”.

A NATO statement issued at the summit stressed that the radar will be part of any future NATO missile defence system.

The decision could well provoke an angry response from Russia, which has repeatedly said that it sees the planned missile shield as a threat to its own security and deterrent capability.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to meet NATO leaders Friday, the last day of the summit.

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