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Czech president says missile shield not Russia's business

RIA Novosti

30/05/2008 18:57 WARSAW, May 30 (RIA Novosti) - The Czech government will make its own decision on the U.S. missile defense shield, based on the country's interests, not on how Russia feels about the matter, the Czech president told The Washington Times.

The U.S. plans to build a radar base in the country as part of its missile defense system that Washington wants to install, with 10 missile interceptors in Poland, purportedly to counter a threat from Iran and other "rogue" states.

Vaclav Klaus said in an interview published on Thursday that he saw little chance Russia would drop its objections to the plan, saying Moscow "has no incentive to offer concessions in the last months of the Bush administration."

"It's our business," he said. "That's our message now to Russia" on the missile defense debate.

He said he expects his country to approve a deal to host parts of a missile defense system by the end of the year despite an ongoing debate in the country, adding that Russia's intense opposition to the plan is helping win support.

"There is a serious debate under way in my country, but the stronger the Russian position opposing the system, the easier it is in the Czech Republic to get support," Klaus said.

"Nevertheless," he said, "our expectation is that it will go through parliament" by the end of the year.

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