US scratching head over Czech radar

US scratching head over Czech radar
# 26 January 2008 08:01 (UTC +04:00)
The first three days of talks will focus on the general legal agreement surrounding the US base, the so-called Sofa agreement. US Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for civilian personnel policy, Patricia Bradshaw, will take part in the talks to thrash out labor issues surrounding the base, officials added.
Negotiations will switch to a separate deal covering ballistic missile defense and the radar’s operation on January 31, with chief US State Department missile defense negotiator John Rood due to lead further talks on the ballistic missile treaty a week later.
The upcoming talks take place with the United States apparently impatient to seal a deal rapidly so that work can start on the radar and a base for 10 interceptor missiles in neighboring Poland by the end of the year.
Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, while saying that an overall agreement could be presented for approval by local lawmakers by April at the earliest, has stressed that quality is a greater priority than speed.
Washington wants its extended anti-missile shield in place and operational by 2012 so that it can deal with the threat it says are posed by "rogue" states, such as Iran.
However its plans to site facilities in two former Soviet bloc countries have antagonised Russia, which has denounced them as a direct threat to its security. /APA/
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THE OPERATION IS BEING PERFORMED