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UPDATED: 09:12, April 12, 2007
Czech minister says U.S. defense system to be linked with NATO
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The U.S. defense system against long-range missiles is to be linked with the one against short and medium-range missiles that is being built by NATO, said Czech Defense Minister Vlasta Parkanova on Wednesday.

Speaking about the planned stationing of a U.S. radar base in the Czech Republic, Parkanova said "NATO is now concentrating on the development and construction of a defense system against short and medium-range missiles, which is considered correct by the USA as this 'shared responsibility' should be preserved and the systems should be accomplished and reinforced mutually."

NATO was building a similar installation against short and medium-range missiles in Italy, Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said.

The two systems are to be prepared around 2012 to protect a substantial part of Europe, he added.

Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said that if the U.S. radar base were stationed in the Czech Republic, it would enhance national security.

Moreover, the U.S. radar base could bring more investments in education, research and development to the Czech Republic, Topolanek said, adding that the Czech government would seek to negotiate on a new agreement with the United States on the protection of investments.

The Czech government officially agreed last month to start negotiations with the United States over the location of a radar base, which is part of a planned U.S. anti-missile shield in central Europe. The negotiations are expected to start in mid-May and go on until the year's end.

Topolanek stressed that the radar base should become a part of NATO's anti-missile defense.

"One thing is obvious. The talks will be rather tough during the next nine months. The Americans have their ideas, we have our ideas. We must clearly push through our interests," Schwarzenberg said.

Source: Xinhua

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