'Czech-U.S. radar treaty may be signed in April': PM

The Czech Republic and US may sign a treaty on the possible location of the U.S.-planed missile radar base in early April, Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said on Tuesday.

'Czech-U.S. radar treaty may be signed in April': PM
The Czech Republic and the United States may sign a treaty on the possible location of the U.S.-planed missile defence radar base on the Czech territory at the NATO summit in Bucharest in early April, or shortly before or after it, the Czech news agency CTK quoted Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek as saying on Tuesday.

"We need to be part of collective defence and take active part in it," Topolanek told the CTK on his way to the U.S.

He started a journey to the U.S. Monday night. He is going to meet U.S. President George W. Bush on Wednesday.

The issues Topolanek is going to negotiate in Washington include the linking of the U.S. missile defence shield with NATO, Czech-U.S. cooperation in science and research, and Russia's response towards the U.S. intention to build missile defence shield in Eastern Europe.

Russia is opposing the U.S. plan to build a radar base in the Czech Republic and an interceptor missile base in Poland.

Topolanek said he intended to present the Czech Republic in Washington as a fundamental part of NATO.

Before his trip to the U.S., Topolanek consulted Warsaw on the negotiations with the U.S., according to local media reports.

The U.S. hopes to install 10 interceptor missiles in Poland by 2012 and associated radar stations in the Czech Republic. Its negotiations with Warsaw and Prague are ongoing.

A possible location of the U.S. radar base is in the Brdy military area, some 90 km southwest of Prague.

The Czech centre-right government favors the U.S. project, while some 70 percent of Czechs reject it, a survey conducted by the CVVM polling institute showed.

Besides the main agreement that defines the purpose of the establishment of the radar base, the two countries also negotiate on the SOFA agreement which will provide legal status for the stay of U.S. soldiers in the Czech Republic.

Both treaties have to be approved by the Czech parliament.

Topolanek, who heads the government council for science and research, hoped to achieve progress on Czech-U.S. cooperation in science and research that would be tied with the negotiations on the radar base.

"I consider it a much more fundamental step than the technical matters concerning the radar," he said.

U.S. experts have already selected 15 fields of "preferential interest" in research, he added.

The U.S. is to support, for example, the nanofibre project of the university in Liberec, north Bohemia area of the Czech republic, the CTK report said.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 26 Şubat 2008, 15:56