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Czech radar base construction to commence by June

An exclusive treaty on Czech firms and scientists participating in the US missile defense project might be reached by the end of June, Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said.

Henry Obering, director of the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and representatives of 40 Czech firms and 10 US companies also attended the seminar.

The prepared treaty “should minimize legal, commercial and political obstacles and create favorable conditions for new contacts between Czech and US business people and researchers,” Schwarzenberg said.

Czech diplomacy has started talks on an exclusive agreement under which Czech companies and researchers would be able to join the anti-missile defense project. Czech companies do have a chance, Obering said, adding that there are opportunities for the Czech industry.

The first results and contracts are likely to emerge within months.

The US armament companies that attend the two-day seminar include Raytheon, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. At present, the United States is cooperating with Japan, Italy, Australia, Britain and Denmark on the missile defense shield. Talks are underway with seven other countries.

The United States initiated the plan to deploy an anti-missile radar base in the Czech Republic and a missile interceptor base in Poland. Negotiations between the Czech Republic and the United States on the radar project are still underway, while the former is expected to give its final decision later this year.

Russia has expressed its strong objections to the US missile defense program in Poland and the Czech Republic, citing its own security. Some 70% of Czechs reject the planned US radar base in their country, according to the latest survey conducted by the CVVM polling institute. (Xinhua)