CND today welcomed news that the Czech government has been forced – through public and parliamentary opposition – to temporarily withdraw Treaties supporting the deployment of US Missile Defence facilities in the Czech Republic. This victory opens the door to a fundamental rethinking of the system which is controversial across Europe, including in the UK, which houses two facilities for the system at Fylingdales and Menwith Hill bases in Yorkshire.

US proposals to develop US Missile Defence in Europe received a huge blow last night when the Czech government was forced to withdraw the Treaty it has agreed with the US, fearing it would lose a ratification vote in the Chamber of Deputies.

The strength of public opposition in the Czech Republic, and the weakness of the government in Chamber of Deputies, has forced the government to delay the ratification a number of times, with the latest being the most significant.

Earlier in the day the government had failed to keep a vote on the Treaty off the agenda, when two Green Deputies joined with the main opposition Social Democrat and Communist groups to support it being voted on. Following this, and in a unique move constitutionally, the two main governing parties called a recess to discuss the issue in their respective groups and the Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek announced in a live television address that the treaties were to be temporarily withdrawn.

The Czech government announced it will discuss the issue with the Obama administration at the NATO Summit in Strasbourg on 4-5th April.

Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said, “We congratulate the Czech movement against US Missile Defence, both in civil society and their representatives in Parliament. They took a huge step forward yesterday in preventing the radar deployment. Our own MPs will not be surprised that the Czech government has sought to keep its ratification proposals alive by preventing Czech Deputies from casting their vote: British MPs have not been afforded a vote on our own involvement in the system.

“Now that the Obama administration wants to ‘press the reset button’ on relations with Russia, the first thing it must do is end its plans to deploy US Missile Defence bases in Poland and the Czech Republic. Here in Britain, the government must listen to the growing demands of MPs – now over 100  – to announce a review of our own involvement in the system, at Fylingdales and Menwith Hill.”