Czech foreign minister responds strongly to Putin's attack on US missile defence plans

11-02-2007

Czech foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg has dismissed Russian President Vladimír Putin's criticism of American plans to build a missile defence system in the Czech Republic and Poland. Speaking at an international security summit in Munich, Mr Putin had said that the United State's defence plans were unnecessary and would only precipitate a new arms race and breed insecurity. Mr Schwarzenberg ironically thanked the Russian president for his remarks, saying they helped publicise the conference. He described Mr Putin's speech as harsh and said that the Russian president was now adopting a position similar to that of the former Soviet Union. The foreign minister added that Mr Putin's remarks only served to underline the need for NATO to continue expanding.

If the American missile defence plans are approved by the Czech parliament, it will see the construction of a radar base in the Brdy region south of Prague as part of a new missile defence system in Europe.