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Cablegate: Second Missile Defense Agreement Negotiation In

VZCZCXRO4925
OO RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHPG #1051 2550449
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 120449Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY PRAGUE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9601
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 1899
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS PRAGUE 001051

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV MASS MARR EZ
SUBJECT: SECOND MISSILE DEFENSE AGREEMENT NEGOTIATION IN
PRAGUE

REF: A. PRAGUE 999

B. PRAGUE 591

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Assistant Secretary of State for
International Security and Nonproliferation John C. Rood and
an interagency delegation met September 5 in Prague with a
Czech delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister Tomas Pojar
for the second round of negotiations on the Ballistic Missile
Defense Agreement (BMDA). The delegation reviewed the Czech
BMD agreement counterproposal presented to the United States
on August 9 and made substantial progress towards mutual
acceptance of the BMD agreement text. While a number of areas
remain to be negotiated, the round confirmed both sides are
in full agreement on the broad concepts and principles to
construct and operate a missile defense radar site in the
Czech Republic. End summary.
2. (SBU) Citing political constraints, the Czech side
repeatedly said they need to present parliament with
favorable language in certain key areas of the agreement.
These included clear assurances of sovereignty, statements of
NATO involvement, environmental protection guarantees and
preferential treatment for Czech contractors and companies
(the latter raised for the first time in the negotiations by
the Czech side). Throughout the discussions, the Czechs
showed considerable flexibility in many of these areas to
find compromise language. Considerable discussion focused on
placement of the key provisions in the SOFA as opposed to the
BMD agreement. Areas that remain to be resolved include
payment of symbolic rent and claims, liability, and
limitations on the number of U.S. personnel. Pojar noted
that even if this favorable language is included,
parliamentary ratification of both the BMD agreement and the
SOFA supplemental are not without challenges. In response to
U.S. statements that much of the language in the Czech
counterproposal belonged in the SOFA supplemental, the Czechs
made clear that they continue to regard the BMD agreement as
the 'main agreement' and repeatedly said a broad-based SOFA
would not win parlimentary approval, threatening ratification
of the BMD agreement. The Czech stated preference is to limit
the U.S.-Czech SOFA supplemental solely to the missile
defense radar site. A/S Rood reiterated the U.S. need to
conclude a broad-based SOFA covering all U.S. military
activities in the Czech Republic.
3. (SBU) The U.S. delegation agreed to provide the Czech side
with a working text of the agreement containing the
agreed-upon language as well as bracketed areas which
continue to be negotiated. The next round of negotiations is
tentatively slated for the end of September or beginning of
October, with dates to be determined by A/S Rood and DFM
Pojar.
4. (SBU) COMMENT: Of the major challenges identified, the
Czech desire for a limited SOFA supplemental agreement is the
most significant hurdle. Pojar outlined two trains of thought
acceptable to the Czechs: placing personnel issues in the
SOFA and property and operational issues in the BMD
agreement, or combining both pieces into one agreement. Some
of this Czech concern may be mitigated next week when a
separate delegation comes to Prague to negotiate the SOFA
supplemental. End comment.
5. (SBU) A/S Rood has cleared this cable.
THOMPSON-JONES

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