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Czech cabinet to demand that radar site be part of NATO system

The Czech government will probably demand that a missile-defense radar site in the country requested by the US be part of NATO's defense systems, said Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Alexandr Vondra.

The Czechs will offer talks on the potential site of the radar station in a note to be sent to the US today, Vondra said on public television yesterday. The offer to start talks doesn't bind the government to an agreement to host the radar site, he added. The request to include the radar in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization defense system is a concession to the Green Party, a junior member of the ruling coalition.

The remaining coalition members, the Civic and Christian Democrats, support the idea of hosting the radar site without additional conditions. The Social Democratic Party, the largest opposition force, has rejected the plan, calling for a referendum on the issue. The other opposition party, the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia, has taken a similar stance.

61% of the Czechs oppose the radar system, while 25% support the idea, according to a poll by the CVVM agency of 1,080 people on February 5-12. The remaining 14% didn't know. The margin of error was 3%. A survey by STEM agency for public television showed that 70% of Czechs oppose the radar site, while the other 30% back the project. The poll was made on March 1-2 with 647 adults, and the margin of error was 4%age points, STEM director Petr Vaclavik said in an e-mail. (Bloomberg)