Petr Fiala ratifies landmark Czech-US cooperation agreement

The treaty provides a legal basis for the potential deployment of the US military on Czech territory.


Written by ČTK Published on 17.08.2023 10:59:00 (updated on 17.08.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala officially signed on Wednesday the Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) with the U.S. 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 or emergency conditions.

The agreement, already endorsed by Czech President Petr Pavel on Aug. 1, will now be sent by the Czech Foreign Ministry to the U.S. for final approval, which is expected to come within 30 days. 

Allowing US troops to use Czech facilities

The 40-page agreement addresses the legal status of U.S. soldiers, environmental protection, the operation of U.S. soldiers' motor vehicles, and the status of U.S. armed forces contractors. The pact also outlines tax and customs exemptions for U.S. soldiers in the Czech Republic, and it designates military installations available to U.S. armed forces under pre-agreed terms.

For Fiala, the agreement's completion is a large achievement, marking a milestone in Czech-U.S. relations. He highlighted its strategic importance by noting that this pact sets the tone for other countries joining NATO this year, signifying the deepening ties between Czechia and Washington.

Defense Minister Jana Černochová underlined the agreement's contribution to Czech Republic's security. Stressing the importance of transatlantic cooperation, she emphasized that such collaboration forms the cornerstone of collective defense within NATO. The minister particularly pointed to the context of Russian military aggression against Ukraine, highlighting the need for a strong alliance with democratic nations.

The parliamentary approval of the treaty witnessed some opposition due to apprehensions about the presence of U.S. troops on Czech soil. Despite this, both houses of the Czech parliament displayed strong support, with significant majorities in favor. In the Senate, 66 out of 72 legislators voted for the treaty, and in the Chamber of Deputies, 115 out of 144 members of parliament lent their support.

US troops won't have a base in Czechia

A key resolution accompanying the ratification, proposed by the opposition ANO movement, clarifies that the agreement does not provide the U.S. armed forces the right to establish permanent bases or reside indefinitely in the Czech Republic without prior governmental consent. It also disallows the deployment of nuclear weapons. 

Officials from the government coalition and ANO reiterated that the agreement does not pertain to the prolonged stay or construction of U.S. military bases, underlining that any enduring presence would necessitate parliamentary approval.

While criticism came from the right-wing Freedom and Direct Democracy party, branding the agreement as one-sided and advantageous to the U.S., the broader consensus emphasizes the collaborative spirit of the deal. As the Czech Republic forges ahead with its strengthened alliance, the DCA emerges as a vital tool for enhanced security and deeper ties with its North American partner.

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