Slovakia opposes US base in Czech Republic

Interview

Slovakia is against the stationing of a US radar base on Czech soil, Prime Minister Robert Fico said on Czech Television (CT) on Sunday. Czech FM: Treaties on US radar could be signed in early May.

The US plans with the anti-missile shield divide NATO, Fico said, adding that the system is not yet fully developed and that it is even unreliable in certain respects. “I think that it is very peculiar that Europe is silently following the arrival of a new era of deployment of foreign soldiers on the European continent,” Fico said. “I think that all of us rejoiced at the departure of Russian soldiers from Czech and Slovak territory, and I do not comprehend it why the EU today agrees with the stationing of some kind of anti-missile defense here (in Central Europe),” Fico added. “If a request to host any element of anti-missile defense were addressed to Slovakia, the Slovak government would not agree with it,” he said. According to Fico, he would like the countries negotiating about the bases to ask other European countries for their opinions.

Treaties on the stationing of a US radar base on Czech soil could be signed in early May, Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said on Czech Television on Sunday. According to information from the Czech news agency CTK, the agreement has not yet been reached on one article concerning the environment, as guarantees of liquidation of possible environmental damage have not yet been provided. The Czech Environment Ministry said it is important that the United States provides financial guarantees for a possible environmental damage. Schwarzenberg said that he expects the Czech Republic’s partners in NATO to comprehend at the summit in Bucharest on April 4 that participation in the US anti-missile shield will protect Europe.

He confirmed the Czech government’s stand according to which Russian inspectors would have access to the planned base only with Czech consent. According to Schwarzenberg, a special treaty would have to be signed between the Czech Republic and Russia. He said Czech diplomats have not yet been negotiating about the exchange of inspectors of bases with Russia.

The United States plans to build a radar base in the Brdy military district, some 90 kilometers southwest of the Czech Republic’s capital Prague, along with an interceptor missile base in neighboring Poland. However, Russia has objected to the plan, saying it will threaten its national security. Recent polls show around 70% of Czechs oppose the planned US radar base in their country. (people.com.cn)

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