Czech, USA to start strategic dialogue next Thursday

The Czech Republic will start strategic dialogue with the USA next Thursday as Deputy Foreign Minister Tomas Pojar will discuss security cooperation, involving the anti-missile defence, there, the U.S. embassy and Czech Foreign Ministry told CTK today.

The Czech Republic and the USA opted for the dialogue that is to improve the bilateral relations in the long run this February.

The Czech Republic asked for the opening of the talks in connection with the talks on the stationing of a U.S. radar in the Czech Republic.

The radar to be built at the Brdy military district, some 90km southwest of Prague, and a base for ten interceptor missiles in Poland are elements of the U.S. missile defence shields to protect the United States and a large part of the European continent against missiles that states like Iran might launch.

Pojar will meet William Burns, Under Secretary for Political Affairs of the Department of State.

They will focus on the current NATO activities, military cooperation in Afghanistan and priorities of the Czech Republic in its EU presidency.

They will also discuss modernisation of the Czech military, strategy of energy security and regional questions, including Georgia and Kosovo.

The bilateral SOFA treaty on the stay of U.S. personnel at the planned radar base on Czech soil will be soon completed, Czech Defence Minister Vlasta Parkanova (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) told reporters today.

Czech parliament may deal with the treaty in October.

In discussing the strategic dialogue, the Czech Republic has joined a narrow group of the countries leading such talks with the USA. It includes Australia, China, Israel, Japan, Norway and Saudi Arabia.

[Source: Czech News Agency, Prague, 28Aug08]

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