Press Advisories

22. 9. 200914:32

Anti-missile defence in the Czech Republic

On Thursday 17th September the United States withdrew its decision to build an anti-missile defence system in Central Europe. During the night of the 16th September this information was communicated to Prime Minister Jan Fischer by US President Barack Obama.

Let us now look at how cooperation on the construction of anti-missile defence in the Czech Republic has developed, what steps came before and what future developments we may now expect.

Czech-US consultations on anti-missile cooperation began in 2002, when former Minister of Defence Jaroslav Tvrdík held discussions on the topic in the United States. On the basis of a presentation by the Missile Defense Agency the Czech Ministry of Defence provided initial technical information for possible sites for locating anti-missile facilities in our country.

In 2003 the United States sent the Czech Republic the technical requirements for the building of a radar base. At that time the US also pointed out that anti-missile defence is a project which is defensive in nature and provided assurances that it is not aimed at any particular country. The reason for locating an anti-missile shield is to protect Europe from attacks by ballistic missiles fired from the Middle East. Based on US findings, interceptors located in Alaska and California cannot destroy a rocket fired from the Middle East.

In November of the following year bilateral talks took place in Washington between delegations from the Ministries of Defence of the Czech Republic and the United States, the aim of which was a detailed exchange of further technical information about the anti-missile system. The outcome of this was material which included a description of the areas proposed for its location. The facilities discussed included military bases at Libavá, Brdy and Boletice.

On 19th January 2007 the United States advised in an official note that it was interested in discussing with the Czech Republic its involvement in the US anti-missile defence system. In April of the same year the US side sent over the first drafts of an agreement.

On 3rd April 2008 the United States and the Czech Republic announced that they had competed negotiations on a treaty to provide protection against ballistic missiles and subsequent to this a treaty on the location of a radar base in the Czech Republic was signed on 8th July. The agreement was signed in the Černínský Palace by US Secretary of State Condolleeza Rice and Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg.

The current situation, where the United States has withdrawn from its original plans, has no impact on bilateral Czech-US cooperation in the field of defence. Discussions continue. According to the Ministry of Defence bilateral cooperation is not tied to the construction of a radar station in Brdy and the Czech Republic remains one of the few countries which has concluded a Declaration on Strategic Cooperation with the United States.