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UPDATED: 08:54, March 31, 2007
Czech Republic plans to consult NATO, Russia on U.S. missile shield: PM
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The Czech Republic is within its rights to sign an agreement with the United States on extending a U.S. missile defense program to central Europe, but it plans to consult both NATO and Russia, Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said Friday.

The U.S. plan to site a missile defense radar system in the Czech Republic will be discussed at NATO level so the project can fit into any similar future program by the alliance, Topolanek told reporters at the end of a two-day visit to Hungary.

The United States in January proposed installing parts of its anti- missile shield in central Europe, including 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar system in the Czech Republic.

There was no doubt that the Czech Republic and Polish parts of the U.S. missile shield would contribute to the protection of a major part of Europe, Gyurcsany said.

Most Czechs oppose the proposed radar base, recent polls have shown. Topolanek's Civic Democratic Party, however, is in support of it.

The proposal has drawn strong criticism from Russia, which warned it could trigger an arms race, although Washington has insisted that the system is designed to counter future threats from countries such as Iran.

It has also prompted concerns from U.S. allies such as Germany and France, which has called for dialogue with Moscow on the issue.

Source: Xinhua

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