PRAGUE, Czech Republic – The Czech Republic's new prime minister on Sunday said he supported a possible U.S. missile defense base on Czech territory.
"The whole thing is a problem of collective security, and it does not go against the interests of NATO and the European Union," Mirek Topolanek said in an interview with the private Prima television.
"I'm unequivocally in favor of it," he said.
U.S. defense experts finished surveying possible locations for a missile defense base in the Czech Republic in July. The United States is seeking to expand the system into Europe.
A similar survey mission has taken place in neighboring Poland and a decision by U.S. authorities on where to place the base is expected later this year.
The base would be the first American strategic missile defense site outside U.S. territory and would be designed to defend Europe against intercontinental-range missiles.
While the outgoing Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek has repeatedly said that people must be allowed to decide whether the Czech Republic should host such a base, Topolanek said no referendum is needed.
"I am against a referendum in security issues," Topolanek said Sunday.
Topolanek's minority Cabinet is to be appointed by President Vaclav Klaus on Monday, and then will have 30 days to ask parliament for a vote of confidence.
Topolanek's conservative Civic Democratic Party won the June 2-3 parliamentary elections gaining 81 seats in the parliament, but the elections left the 200-seat legislature split down the middle and Topolanek's chances of winning parliamentary support seem slim.