The Czech and U.S. diplomats started a new round of negotiations on the bilateral agreement on the construction of a U.S. missile defense radar installation in the Czech Republic, the Czech Foreign Ministry announced on Monday.
The ministry officials said that Monday's negotiations ended late in the evening and were tough. They declined to give any details on the ongoing two-day negotiations.
The agreement between the Czech Republic and the United States should define the operation of the missile defense system, the goals of the radar installation, the size of the base, the system of the command and control of its operation and access of Czech soldiers and visits to the base.
According to Czech Deputy Foreign Minister Tomas Pojar, the draft agreement defines in general terms under what conditions foreign observers will have access to the base.
The agreement sets down the method of the permission of access to the base of observer missions from one, the other or the third country and organizations, Pojar said.
He said that the Czechs are not opposed to mutual exchanges of observers with Russia.
It would also be acceptable if the Russians had access to the data from the radar on Czech territory if they offered the possibility of controlling their radars in exchange, he said.
Such mutual controls are standard at present and they contribute to building confidence in security issues, he added.
The Czech Republic is in talks with the United States on the missile defense plan. Washington expects that Prague will make its final decision next year.
A recent opinion poll showed that most Czechs oppose the establishment of the base.
Washington initiated the plan to deploy an anti-missile radar base in the Czech Republic and a missile interceptor base in Poland earlier this year.
Russia has vehemently opposed against the U.S. plan. Moscow said the deployment was aimed at Russia, rather than Iran as Washington had claimed.