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Cablegate: Rfe/Rl Gets "New Lease" On Life in Prague

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS PRAGUE 001871

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

FOR EUR HCONLEY AND R TISGITT

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV EZ
SUBJECT: RFE/RL GETS "NEW LEASE" ON LIFE IN PRAGUE


1. (U) Sensitive But Unclassified - Not for Internet
Distribution.

2. (SBU) The Czech cabinet announced on December 22 the
approval of a new lease for Prague-based Radio Free
Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), which will extend their tenure
in their current headquarters building until December 31,
2007. The current five-year lease was due to expire at the
end of this month, but GOCR officials had repeatedly assured
us that the lease would be extended to cover the USG
projected schedule of time necessary to move the radios to a
safer location in Prague. Due to a technical change in Czech
law, a new lease was approved, rather than an extension of
the current lease, but the conditions of the agreement remain
the same. The government's decision was announced with little
fanfare, and leading news outlets carried straightforward
accounts noting that the lease was extended while the search
for an alternate location remains ongoing.

3. (SBU) Otherwise, the search for a new location remains on
track, with four companies submitting bids on November 23 to
build a new headquarters for approximately 600 employees of
the radios. A multi-disciplinary team in Washington, with
representatives from State OBO and the Broadcasting Board of
Governors, is currently evaluating the bids, with a final
decision planned for early in 2005. Once a site is selected,
the Embassy and Czech officials have pledged to use best
efforts to fast-track the permitting process (an unusually
tedious and bureaucratic process in this country that can
easily take up to 12 months). With this lease extension,
progress on the RFE/RL relocation once again takes a giant
step forward, to the satisfaction of all parties concerned.

Visit Prague's Classified Website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/prague/index. cfm
CABANISS

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