CND today welcomed the postponement of a controversial deal to install a radar base in the Czech Republic as part of the US Missile Defence system. It also sent a message of support to Czech campaigners who are mobilising widespread opposition to the radar.
The Czech government was due to sign the agreement with Condoleezza Rice on Monday 5th May, but according to the Czech Foreign Ministry, the accord has now been delayed due to ‘a matter of logistics’. The announcement swiftly follows a successful occupation of the proposed radar site in Brdy by Czech activists on Monday, a protest by Mayors opposed to the radar today, and a planned joint protest by all Czech campaign groups opposing the US Missile Defence system, taking place tomorrow.
Public opposition to the US Missile Defence system remains overwhelming, both in the Czech Republic (with 70% opposed – see note 3) and across Europe. Recent protests have taken place in Poland and Norway and events are taking place at related bases in Britain throughout May.
The delayed agreement aims to formalise the negotiations on the radar base between the US and the Czech Republic. Other components of the system include a proposed interceptor missile base at Gorsko in Poland, Fylingdales radar station, and the US satellite monitoring base at Menwith Hill – both in Yorkshire. CND believes this system will enable the US to launch attacks on other states without fear of retaliation.
Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament said: “We welcome the announcement of the delay and hope the Czech government is thinking better of its decision to commit to this destabilising and provocative system. US Missile Defence is leading us into a new Cold War. All governments – whether they be US, British, Polish or Czech – should be focusing on reducing global tensions rather than exacerbating them.”
She continued: “In the closing days of parliament last year, without any formal debate or consultation, Des Browne announced the inclusion of Menwith Hill into the US Missile Defence system. We will continue to campaign against the use of British bases for this system and we will continue to offer support to peoples across Europe resisting the imposition of these bases on their soil. The Czech campaign – which has overwhelming majority support amongst the Czech population – has delayed the US’s plans to push this agreement through. We wish them continued success in their work at this crucial time.”
CND demonstrations against Britain’s involvement in US Missile Defence will be taking place at Croughton in Oxfordshire (also linked to the MD system) on Saturday 3rd May, Menwith Hill in Yorkshire on Saturday 17th May and Lakenheath in Suffolk on Sunday 18th May. See note 4 for links to exact details. .
Notes to Editors:For further information and interviews please contact Ben Soffa, CND’s Press Officer, on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is one of Europe’s biggest single-issue peace campaigns, with over 35,000 members in the UK. CND campaigns for the abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere. www.cnduk.org