Czechia signs major defense treaty with US allowing troops to fight in Czechia

Czechia's defense minister said the cooperation agreement doesn't allow the establishment of a US military base in Czechia.

Thomas Smith ČTK

Written by Thomas SmithČTK Published on 23.05.2023 16:00:00 (updated on 23.05.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Minister of Defense Jana Černochová will sign a special defense cooperation agreement between Czechia and the U.S. that sends a strong sign to Russia, politicians say. The treaty includes a list of military facilities and premises belonging to the Czech army that U.S. armed forces will be able to use under pre-agreed conditions.

The agreement also provides a legal framework for the potential deployment of the U.S. military on Czech territory. The Czech government approved the measure in April this year. Černochová will meet her U.S. counterpart Lloyd Austin to sign the document this afternoon.

Bringing the U.S. military closer to Czechia

Černochová’s signature means that Czechia becomes the 24th country to have a special defense agreement with the U.S. Czechia’s defense minister has emphasized that this treaty does not allow U.S. soldiers to have a permanent base in Czechia.

According to U.S. congressman Lloyd Doggett, the Czech-U.S. treaty sends a message to the Kremlin. "Our commitment to allies and NATO is unchanging. The contract follows the liberation of Pilsen from the Nazis by American soldiers," he said in an interview for Seznam Zprávy.

Opposition not fully in support

Some members of the opposition are against the new agreement. Leader of the Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) party Tomio Okamura said that the defense minister’s plans were insolent and arrogant, and may lead to the building of U.S. bases on the territory of Czechia. The SPD leader accused the treaty of being secretive, but Černochová defended herself by saying that full details of the agreement are publicly available.

Chairman of the House Committee on Defense Lubomír Metnar – part of the opposition ANO movement – told journalists today that the party is still deciding on how to approach the agreement in parliament. Metnar views the treaty as “important,” but says the government did not explain it adequately.

A protest against the agreement is planned outside the U.S. embassy in Prague this afternoon, organized by the Czech Peace Movement and the Communist Party of the Czech Republic.

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