The Czech Prime Minister has confirmed his government will open talks with the United States on siting part of a planned missile defence shield in the country. However, Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said he’s made it clear he wants any installation to be part of a multilateral arrangement with NATO.
Negotiations between the US and the Czech Republic will continue until the end of this year. The US wants a radar station near Prague and a missile battery in Poland by 2011. However, people living close to the proposed site do not. Residents of one nearby village voted emphatically “no” in a recent referendum.
Russia also sees the requests as a threat. President Bush has telephoned President Putin offering to discuss all aspects of the missile shield proposals with him. While all the Czech ministers, except one, voted in favour of talks, the Social Democrats and the Communists in the coalition are adamantly against it.