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Czech govt. to announce decision on U.S. missile shield Wed.

RIA Novosti

26/03/2007 18:29 WARSAW, March 26 (RIA Novosti) - The government of the Czech Republic will announce Wednesday its decision regarding the deployment of a radar system on its territory as part of a U.S. missile shield in Central Europe, the Polish press agency PAP said Monday.

Washington would like to deploy interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar system in the Czech Republic, saying the system will help protect the U.S. and its allies in Europe from an air strike by Iran, which the West suspects of trying to produce nuclear weapons. However, Russia sees the prospective deployment as a threat to its own national security, and fears the base may trigger a new arms race.

Citing Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberger's statement, published in the Czech newspaper Mlada fronta Dnes, the agency said the decision on whether the Czech Republic will allow the radar system on its territory or not will be made during the government's March 28 session.

Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek has also confirmed the information.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier in a newspaper interview that the U.S. plans to create a national missile defense shield would undermine Russia's relations with NATO, and that a joint system seemed therefore a far better option.

"There are collective alternatives to the unilateral project [to build] a national defense shield, including a NATO-Russia theater missile defense system that would be mindful of the security interests of all," said Lavrov.

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