Czechs And US Sign Missile Defence System Agreement

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor
London Daily Telegraph
September 20, 2008

US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates and his Czech counterpart have signed an agreement clearing the way for stationing US forces to operate a missile defence radar in the Czech Republic.
The status of forces agreement provides the legal basis for the US presence in the Czech Republic, and marks the last piece of a long negotiation over the radar, part of a European leg of the US missile defence system that has aroused intense Russian opposition.
"This is the culmination of a process to draw our nations closer and help protect Europe," Mr Gates said, adding that he hopes the Czech parliament ratifies the agreement.
The Czech radar would be paired with 10 interceptor missiles stationed in Poland with the aim of countering an emerging ballistic missile threat from a "rogue" state, such as Iran.
Moscow has vehemently objected to the stationing of the missile defences in the former Soviet bloc countries, insisting that it could one day be turned against Russia's nuclear deterrent.
But Czech Defence Minister Vlasta Parkanova said she believed the missile defence system would make a significant contribution to regional security.
She said the time it took to negotiate the agreement was proof that they were "tough but fair".
Mr Gates said decisions on when construction of the radar would begin would await a technical study that is supposed to be concluded in November.
If construction begins next year, the system could be in operation between 2011 and 2013. The US Defence Intelligence Agency says that Iran could have long-range missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons by 2015 to 2017.