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21 Oct, 2008 03:05

Czechs to discuss future of US missile defence

The lower house of the Czech parliament is to consider the treaty allowing the American Anti-Missile Defence system into their territory.

The debate is expected to take some time as the house is divided, with some members demanding a legally binding referendum.

Latest polls suggest 70 percent of Czechs oppose the idea of the radar.
Russia is strongly against the plans which it sees as a threat to its national security.

The US says the missile defence system is needed to deter possible strikes from Iran.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov believes only permanent Russian inspectors on site will calm Moscow's concerns.

“Non-permanent presence, i.e. one-time visits, does not change anything and only increases our suspicions,” he said. "If they do not want our officers to be present there at all times, then there is or will be something to hide. This does not add transparency or trust.

“This position is not new. This is just a variation of what was after a Russian-American meeting in Moscow in 2+2 format last year.”

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