U.S. and Czech Republic Sign Missile Defense Deal
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg signed an agreement today in Prague establishing a missile defense radar station, a major victory for the Bush administration’s foreign policy agenda.
News of the deal immediately provoked Russia, which threatened to military action against the former Soviet satellite country. “We will be forced to react not with diplomatic, but with military-technical methods,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, according to London’s Times Online.
Rice didn’t let Russia’s tough talk distract her from the threat posed by Iran. “We’ve made the point to our Russian colleagues that we all face the threat from states like Iran that continue to pursue missiles of ever-longer range, and we must be in a position to respond,” she said.
The agreement came after long negotiations with Czech officials to install a tracking radar in the country. Rice will now turn her attention to Poland, which is in slatted to have 10 interceptor missiles. Those discussions have stalled over Poland’s demands for billions of dollars in U.S. military aid.
The U.S.-Czech agreement now moves to the Czech Parliament, which will vote on the deal. Schwarzenberg expressed optimism it would be approved despite opposition from some citizens. “I believe there will be enough members of the parliament who are aware of the responsibility and vote for the agreement,” Schwarzenberg said. The deal has already been approved by NATO.