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Czech U.S. base opponent meets U.S. Congresspersons in Washington

16.3.2008 -
New York/Washington- Jan Tamas, spokesman for the No To Bases initiative that is against the stationing of a U.S. radar base on Czech soil, informed representatives of the U.S. Congress on the opposition to the base on Wednesday, he has told CTK.

Tamas told the Congresspersons that the No To Bases initiative considers the plan to build the base a new step towards arms race. The initiative also does not consider Iran a security threat, he told them.

The U.S. Administration argues that the radar base will protect the United States and a big part of Europe against missiles that Iran and other similar states might launch.

Tamas said he drew the Congresspersons attention to the fact that a majority of Czechs were against the U.S. base, often out of concern for environment protection.

The latest opinion poll showed that two-thirds of Czech citizens oppose the project.

Tamas discussed the base more thoroughly with aides to Democrat Congresspersons Ellen Tauscher and Robert Wexler.

Tamas said the Congress members he met criticised the fact that the U.S. Administration tried to push through the missile defence project without discussing it in the Congress and against the will of most Czech citizens.

The United States plans to build the radar base at the Brdy military district, some 90km southwest of Prague, along with a base with ten defence missiles in Poland as elements of the missile defence shield.

The Czech centre-right government has been negotiating with the United States about the radar base for about a year and it plans to end the talks probably in April. The leftist opposition is against the base. The project is sharply criticised by Russia.

Tamas, who is also the head of the extra-parliamentary Humanistic Party, told CTK that his one-week visit to the United States launched a stronger campaign against the radar base in the United States.

The No To Bases cooperates with several U.S. humanistic and anti-war organisations whose members helped prepare his current visit and attended the meetings in the Congress.

"Our intensive cooperation with our American colleagues who also do not want military bases to spread across the world starts only now," Tamas said.

In April, Tamas is to take part in a conference in Omaha, Nebraska, and then he will tour the U.S. East Coast and lecture on the base.

Tamas said he covered the costs of the current visit by himself, but that the next visit will be co-funded by the U.S. organisations.

On Saturday, Tamas is to address the international conference Left Forum 2008 in New York. He is to present the fight against the radar base in the Czech Republic to the participants.

Tamas said he also met renowned U.S. intellectual Noam Chomsky, 79, who has supported No To Bases already in 2006, this week.

Chomsky made a video recording in support on a new petition against the base.

Tamas said the initiative wanted to gather one million signatures under it within a month. He added he hoped that at least half of the signatures would be from Czechs.

Source (Czech):

Jan Tamas with Congressman William Dellahunt, Washington D.C.

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