Updated 14 minutes ago
The government approved the Czech-American agreement on defense cooperation (DCA), Prime Minister Petr Fiala said after the cabinet meeting. The contract is intended to facilitate the possible stay of American soldiers in the Czech Republic. The document will have to be approved by both chambers of the parliament and signed by the president even after the defense ministers have signed it. According to Defense Minister Jana Černochová, the most suitable date for signing the agreement is now being sought.
The contract is to set the conditions for possible cooperation with the American armed forces on the territory of the Czech Republic. It does not address the specific stay of American soldiers or the possible creation of an American base on Czech territory. This would still have to be approved by the government and parliament first, it would be a separate political decision. According to Fiala, the agreement is significant in terms of security and strategy in the current “troubled times” and increases the security of the Czech Republic and Czech citizens.
The approximately forty-page document deals with all relevant thematic areas that may be related to the possible presence of American soldiers in the Czech Republic or the cooperation of the American and Czech armed forces on Czech territory. For example, it deals with the legal status of American soldiers, it also concerns environmental protection, the operation of motor vehicles by American soldiers and their families, or perhaps the status of suppliers of the American armed forces. It also deals with the exemption of American soldiers from taxes and customs duties in the Czech Republic.
According to Černochová, the contract will enable more intensive practical cooperation between the Czech and American armed forces. “Today was preceded by a year of intensive negotiations, in addition to the Ministry of Defense and the Army, representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Justice, Finance, Interior, and Transport participated in them,” said Černochová.
Of the other 30 alliance countries, 24 states have concluded a DCA treaty or its equivalent with the US. In addition to the Czech Republic, Denmark is also discussing it, Finland and Sweden are also preparing it in connection with their entry into NATO. Of the eastern members of the alliance, the Czech Republic is the last country that does not have a similar agreement. Hungary adopted it two years ago, in Slovakia the approval was accompanied by a sharp internal political discussion.
Now is a suitable date for signing the agreement, said the minister. “I am convinced that we negotiated it well, we have nothing to be ashamed of, we also enforced some of our demands,” said Černochová. According to her, during the four rounds of negotiations, it was beneficial that the Czech Republic could draw inspiration from previous treaties. According to her, the agreement will become part of the overall architecture of allied cooperation in NATO.
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