The Czech Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda has said that American troops could be stationed in the Czech Republic. Mr Svoboda, who is attending an informal meeting of the foreign ministers of the European Union member and candidate countries in Greece, said that history teaches us that security in Europe is not ensured without the United States. Foreign Minister Svoboda was reacting to President Vaclav Klaus's interview published in Saturday's edition of the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung, in which Mr Klaus said that he was against the stationing of US units in the Czech Republic. President Klaus said that owing to their recent history Czechs were very sensitive to the topic of foreign military units being deployed on Czech territory. Alluding to the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, Mr Klaus said in Sueddeutsche Zeitung that any new stationing of foreign troops would probably not be welcomed. According to some speculations, the United States is contemplating removing its troops from Germany eastwards.
Defence Minister Jaroslav Tvrdik is travelling to Kuwait on Monday to visit the Czech-Slovak NBC unit stationed at Camp Doha. On Tuesday Minister Tvrdik is to travel to the Iraqi city of Basra where a Czech military field hospital is being built. On Wednesday Mr Tvrdik will meet Kuwaiti officials. Czech anti-chemical experts have been deployed in the region as part of the US-led Enduring Freedom operation. The Czech military field hospital was expected to begin full service on Tuesday but construction has been delayed due to various complications.
The Czech Air Force could obtain 14 old Tornado F3 fighters from the British Army, which would replace the MiG-21 fighters whose lifespan expires soon, either for free or for a symbolic price, the daily Pravo wrote on Saturday, citing Defence Minister Jaroslav Tvrdik. However, the Defence Ministry should consider whether the operation of the old British planes would be profitable.
According to the paper, army experts need to ascertain, for instance, whether general repairs would have to be made on the planes and how much the pilot training would cost. They are also studying whether the adjustment of airport infrastructure to the operation of Tornados would prove worthwhile. On Wednesday, Minister Tvrdik discussed the possibility of obtaining old Tornado fighters with his British counterpart Geoff Hoon.
Both units of the Temelin nuclear power station have started operating at 100 percent of capacity for the first time, supplying around 2,000 MWH of electricity to the grid. The plant has thus reached its maximum output - seventeen years after its construction started. Both units could produce about 48,000 MWH of electricity per day. The decision on the construction of the nuclear power station was made in 1980 and works began in February 1987. After 1989 the country reconsidered its electricity consumption and in March 1993 the government decided to complete the plant with only two units instead of four. The construction of Temelin was accompanied by many problems, which provoked a wave of protests in neighbouring Austria and Germany.
Pits of explosives apparently abandoned by the Iraqi army have been discovered near a Czech army field hospital in the Iraqi city of Basra. According to Czech explosives expert Vladimir Kral dozens of anti-tank shells, grenades and rocket accelerators were found in water-filled pits by playing children. The children reported the ordnance to hospital doctors working nearby. British soldiers in charge of the area have taken control of the site, which also includes a building that locals say was used for torturing prisoners during Saddam Hussein's rule. The explosives were lying only 200 metres from the field hospital's surgical centre, which has been treating civilians and soldiers for about a week. Among the patients are children injured by explosives left over from the latest war.
Sunday should be partly cloudy with daytime temperatures reaching highs of 26 degrees Celsius.
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