Czech Republic Rejects US Proposal for Missile Defense Center

Posted June 15th, 2011 at 11:50 am (UTC-5)
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The Czech defense minister says Prague has rejected a U.S. proposal to build a missile defense center in the country after complaining that the facility would diminish the Czech role in the project.

Alexander Vondra said Wednesday the Czech Republic has decided not to host an early warning center that would gather and analyze information from satellites to detect missiles aimed at NATO territory.

Last week, Vondra told a NATO meeting in Brussels that Prague views the proposed center as a mere “consolation prize” compared to an earlier U.S. plan to install an advanced radar base on Czech territory.

U.S. President Barack Obama scrapped his predecessor's radar base offer in 2009 and proposed a smaller role for the Czechs in the form of hosting the early warning center.

Vondra says the NATO alliance's larger role in the revised U.S. missile defense system means the Czech Republic does not need the facility. He says Prague will seek other ways to participate in the project.

Russia has criticized the U.S. missile defense plan as a threat to the effectiveness of its nuclear deterrent. The United States says the project is aimed at shielding Europe from potential attack by Iranian missiles.