( Xinhua ) - Some 250 members of the U.S. military and civilian personnel will be at the U.S. radar base in the Czech Republic during the rotation, Czech Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zuzana Opletalova said on Tuesday.
During regular operation, it would be 170 people at the most under the Czech-U.S. SOFA (Strategic Framework and the Status of Forces Agreement) bilateral treaty that specifies a legal framework for the stay of U.S. soldiers on Czech soil, Opletalova said.
The next round of negotiations on SOFA will start in Prague on Wednesday and the Czech National Security Council held an extraordinary meeting Tuesday to discuss SOFA agreement, the Czechnews agency CTK quoted Opletalova as saying.
Although the agreement sets the largest number of U.S. troops present at the base at 170 practically several dozen Americans, approximately up to 100, will be at the base, Opletalova added.
The SOFA agreement defines the legal status of American soldiers, addresses aspects of environment protection, transport, taxes and the possibilities for Czechs to check construction works at the U.S. base.
Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek told journalists recently that the negotiations on the SOFA agreement should be completed by Friday.
However, according to the Defense Ministry, there would probably be two rounds of negotiations and it is therefore not definitively clear when Prague and Washington will sign the agreement.
The United States plans to build a radar base in the Brdy military district, some 90 km southwest of the capital Prague, along with an interceptor missile base in neighboring Poland.
Russia and some 70 percent of Czech citizens are opposed to the project.
Veronika Kuchynova Smigolova, head of the Czech Foreign Ministry security policy department, said on Tuesday the radar base would enhance the country's security even if interceptor missiles were not located in Poland.
Stefan Fuele, Czech ambassador to NATO, said a confidential technical report showed that the possible U.S. bases in the Czech Republic and Poland would not cover the whole territory of NATO countries.
The report showed that the radar base would strengthen the ability of present allied systems even without the interceptor missiles, Kuchynova Smigolova said.