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Czech govt. okays U.S. radar deployment near Prague - official

RIA Novosti

03/07/2007 17:57

WARSAW, July 3 (RIA Novosti) - The Czech government has given the U.S. the go ahead to deploy a missile-defense radar near the town of Misov, 90 kilometers (50 miles) southwest of Prague, the country's Security Council official said Tuesday.

Tomas Klvana, a Security Council spokesman, said the deployment of a U.S. missile-defense system two kilometers (1.2 miles) from Misov, in proximity to a military base, is the best possible option from the viewpoint of military and political security.

"The Security Council agreed with the Defense Ministry's proposals," he said, adding that the site would need to be thoroughly studied before a final decision is made.

The final decision on the deployment of a U.S. radar is to be made by the Czech parliament, with the opposition demanding a nationwide referendum on the issue.

The United States seeks to deploy 10 interceptors in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic, to protect itself and its European allies against a potential strike from Iran or some other "rogue state."

Russia is strongly opposed to the shield plan, and has dismissed arguments that it would make Europe a safer place.

President Vladimir Putin proposed in June that the U.S. use a powerful radar station Russia leases from the Caucasus state to monitor possible attacks from Iran and North Korea instead of opening installations in Central Europe, which Moscow regards as a threat to its security.

During his informal talks with George W. Bush Monday, Putin proposed that Russia and the United States could jointly use a radar in southern Russia, in addition to the early warning facility in Gabala in Azerbaijan.

He also proposed setting up a missile defense data exchange center in Moscow and Brussels, as well as expanding the number of countries involved in countering global challenges.

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