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U.S. experts to examine a place for missile defense base in Czech Republic

A team of U.S. experts is expected to arrive this month in the Czech Republic to examine a place where Washington could set up a missile defense base.

The team was to arrive in "next few weeks", Defense Ministry spokesman Jan Pejsek said. It would review a location in the Brdy military area southwest of Prague, which Czech officials consider possibly suitable for a radar site that could be part of a U.S. global missile defense system, Pejsek said.

The place, located near the southern edge of the sprawling military zone, about 85 kilometers (53 miles) southwest of Prague, was agreed on by the country's security council Tuesday, government spokeswoman Jana Bartosova said. She said a proper examination is still necessary to determine if it is suitable for the purpose.

The place was proposed by the Czech Defense Ministry after consultation with the U.S. side, which earlier this year sent two missions to the military zone to take hydrological and geological measurements, examine infrastructure and conduct frequency measurements to avoid possible interference from the radar with existing equipment in the area to determine the best location for the radar.

The U.S. made a formal request in January to place a radar base in a military area southwest of Prague as part of plans for a missile defense shield that Washington says would protect against a potential threat from Iran.

The U.S. also wants to place 10 interceptor missiles in neighboring Poland as part of the system. The two former Soviet satellites are now NATO members.

Russia strongly opposes the idea and says it could trigger a new arms race.