Czech Republic, USA agree on SOFA radar treaty

The Czech Republic and the United States have agreed on the final text of the SOFA treaty, defining the conditions for the stay of U.S. troops in the country in connection with the stationing of a U.S. radar base on Czech soil, according to CTK information.

The Czech government is to deal with the treaty within two weeks.

A U.S. expert team again negotiated about the SOFA treaty in the Czech Republic for two days, the Czech Defence Ministry said.

The ministry said the final text was prepared, with only details to be completed, such as proofreading.

Both sides are yet to confirm the final text of the treaty.

The main treaty on the radar base was signed in July.

However, both treaties on the radar need to be ratified by Czech parliament, where it may not have sufficient support, and signed by president.

Czech and U.S. representatives intensively negotiated on the SOFA treaty.

A Czech delegation headed by Martin Bartak, deputy defence minister, and Tomas Pojar, deputy foreign minister, held talks on a strategic dialogue in the United States. A U.S. delegation worked on the final text in the Czech Republic.

The SOFA talks lasted longer than those on the main radar treaty. Both sides had most problems with reaching agreement on tax issues.

The United States wants to build the radar, along with a base with interceptor missiles in Poland, as its missile defence shield to protect the USA and part of Europe from hostile missiles states such as Iran may launch.

The leftist opposition as well as most Czechs are opposed to the project.

[Source: Czech News Agency, Prague, 05Sep08]

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