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Czech firms seek U.S. missile defense contracts

 Prague is looking to sign an exclusive contract with Washington for the involvement of Czech companies in the construction of a planned European missile shield, national radio reported on Monday.

Washington wants to place a radar in the Czech Republic and 10 missile interceptors in neighboring Poland, purportedly to counter a missile threat from Iran and other "rogue" states. Russia vehemently opposes the plans.

Czech and American representatives will hold preliminary talks on the issue on Friday, Radio Prague said.

The United States has already signed missile defense contracts with Japan, Australia, the U.K, Italy and Denmark.

The Pentagon wants to modernize a radar system currently deployed on the Marshall Islands in the West Pacific and relocate it to the Czech Republic at a cost of $125 million, including testing and start-up expenses.

The Czech government will submit to parliament in April a missile defense bill including plans to place a U.S. radar on the country's territory.

According to U.S. Opinion Research Corporation, 51% of Czechs are against the American radar deployment plans. The Czech parliamentary opposition has demanded a referendum on the issue, but the government has so far refused.

RIA Novosti

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