Friday, July 30, 2010
Czech Republic Ready to Host U.S. Missile Warning Center
The Czech Republic is prepared to host a missile warning center funded by the United States and incorporated into a NATO missile defense system, Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas said Friday.
"There is a plan to grant two million dollars in 2011-12 for the creation of a central shared early warning system, in the budget debate in the two houses of (U.S.) Congress," he said during a press briefing in Prague.
Necas said at issue was a "technical-administrative" center aimed at "detecting the launch of missiles against the territory of the Atlantic alliance."
"Right now, it is a bilateral issue, but it is assumed that this system will be part of NATO's missile defense," the head of the Czech government said.
Necas said it is likely that the centre could be located "in Prague or surrounding areas", but that "details will be negotiated later."
A team of Czech experts at the centre would check data coming from different satellites, Necas said.
Czech Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra told the Czech CTK news agency the system would be passive without any capacity for missile launch.
In Bratislava, Slovakia's Foreign Minister Mikulas Dzurinda said Friday that his country was also ready to participate in the project.
"If this project ... in which the Czech Republic should be included, leads to greater security, we will say 'yes' unequivocally," he said during a news conference.
In September 2009 U.S. President Barack Obama scrapped a missile shield project, which had been pushed by his predecessor George W. Bush and would have seen a powerful radar installed in the Czech Republic and 10 long-range ballistic interceptor missiles in Poland by 2013.
Surveys showed some 70 percent of Czechs had disapproved of the plan.
The shield plan had enraged Russia, which called it a security menace on its doorstep, although Washington insisted the aim was to ward off a potential long-range missile threat from Iran.
"No to bases", an alliance that had protested the original missile shield, on Friday in Prague said it was also opposed to the new project.
Posted by sid at 10:10 PM