Czechs continue to oppose US missile shield radar
Czechs continue to reject US plans for building a missile defence radar base on Czech Republic soil, according to an opinion poll released Thursday, less than three weeks before US President Barack Obama's planned visit to Prague, dpa reported.
The regular survey by the state-funded CVVM polling institute, conducted in early February, said that 70 per cent of the 1,113 polled Czechs opposed the base, while 25 per cent backed it. Five per cent were undecided.
The Czech government of Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek is awaiting Obama's verdict on the European arm of the missile defence system. Development was pushed forward by the previous administration of George W Bush.
Obama is planned to visit Europe in early April, including a two- day stop in Prague for talks with Czech leaders and an EU-US summit on April 4-5.
On Tuesday, Topolanek's cabinet, which lacks votes for the project, pulled two Czech-US missile defence treaties from consideration by parliament's lower house, out of fear that the opposition-dominated chamber would reject them.
The Bush administration intended to accompany the radar with 10 interceptor missiles in Poland, a move that did not sit well with Russia. Moscow has viewed the bases in former Soviet satellites as a threat.
US officials said the system was being designed against potential long-range missiles from so-called rogue states, such as Iran.