RADAR FROM KWAJALEIN HEADED TO CZECH REPUBLIC

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MAJURO, Marshall Islands (Yokwe, March 22) - A U.S. radar installation from Kwajalein will be transferred to the Czech Republic if negotiations succeed. A visit to Alaska and the Marshall Islands where the U.S. radar installations are stationed is being prepared for a Czech delegation said deputy defense minister Karel Bartak while in Washington, D.C. two weeks ago, reported the Russian newspaper, Prava. Although there has been widespread opposition to the building of a U.S. missile defense installation in the Czech Republic, the Government is considering the U.S. request.

The Czech government announced January 19, 2007, that the U.S. confirmed its interest in building a missile defense radar facility in the Brdy military area, which would track a missile launched from the Middle East. The U.S. is also talking with Poland build a missile interceptor base there in the next five years to counter possible attacks from Iran or North Korea.

In a March 20 news conference, U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic Richard Graber said Missile Defense Agency and other experts are to arrive in the Czech Republic in April to discuss missile base plans.

In a news conference February 22, 2007, the Director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said that the U.S. would relocate a radar to Europe that's been operating in the Marshall Islands for a long time. "We would be able to place the first one in the field, we believe, in about the 2011 timeframe and finish that out in 2013," said Air Force Lt. General Henry A. Obering.

"We would obviously modify it and upgrade it as part of that and bring some of the processors up to speed and then we would field an early -- a smaller version and acquisition radar that would be farther forward that would help tie in the whole -- tie together the whole system," he said.

Obering responded to the concerns about the effects of X-band radars. "There is nothing to worry about in this case. X-band radars are used around the world. The one that we would propose to be relocated in the European area has been operating in the Marshall Islands for years. There are people who have been living and working with that. There are no health issues or health problems with that and in fact, they are used very extensively with respect to airplane tracking and that type of thing."

In Europe, the possible base placement has caused controversy and Russion concerns. Prava reported that a document distributed by Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg (for the Green Party) responded to the objections about the radar installation, also.

"Regarding its impact on the environment and the safety of the population it is necessary to say that the radar's rays at the Marshall Islands are directed towards an elementary and secondary school which clearly demonstrates its absolutely harmlessness for human health," said the 4-page document signed by Schwarzenberg.

"The radar installations have no impact on a nearby airport. These are the very radar installation that is to be dismantled and then transferred to the Czech Republic," said the report, which was released to the Czech Chamber of Deputies.

The cost for the move from the Pacific to the Czech Republic would be about 500 million dollars.

The United States Army at Kwajalein Atoll (USAKA) base with its Ronald Regan Test Site (RTS), located in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, with heavy radar emphasis, has been considered the premier facility for the U.S. missile defense program for many years.

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