Defence: The contract with the USA does not mention the base in the Czech Republic

Rewrite this contentAccording to him, the contract is almost ready for discussion by the government and the parliament. According to him, fears that the contract also deals with the possible construction of an American base on the territory of the Czech Republic are unfounded.Why is this contract being negotiated?As a member country of the North Atlantic Alliance, we have concluded the NATO SOFA agreement, which is the basic agreement that regulates the movement and stay of allied military forces on the territory of other allied states. This has been in place since we joined NATO in 1999, but it is quite general and does not cover some areas such as the protection of personal data and the environment or new forms of electronic communication.What will the DCA contract bring to the Czech side?The US and its armed forces are the basic guarantor of NATO’s defense capability. An alliance without Americans makes no sense.NATO is based on the US military presence in Europe and its political and security interest in helping European member countries defend themselves. It is therefore desirable for the Czech Republic to deepen and intensify practical cooperation between the Czech and American armed forces as much as possible.Because Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty on Common Defense (an attack on one member is aggression against the whole of NATO – editor’s note) it is indeed the basis, but it needs to be filled with concrete content, and that is practical military cooperation with allies. The most important ally is the USA. It is therefore important that we train together and strengthen interoperability with the US armed forces.And what is our role in alliance defense? If you look at the map, it is obvious that we are a rear country that is extremely important for transporting Allied forces. And we have to prepare for it.With the DCA treaty, we will prepare better conditions for joint training of movements and logistics, and for the preparation of alliance deterrence measures and defense operations, in which the armed forces of the United States will always play the most important role.Primarily, the contract is about adjusting in advance the conditions of the possible stay of American soldiers on our territory. The cooperation between the Czech and American armed forces has been going on for thirty years, but it is in the interest of the Czech Republic to further intensify and deepen it. The DCA agreement creates practical prerequisites for this.So if, for example, the war in Ukraine escalated, would the treaty speed up the eventual deployment of American troops on our territory?Exactly. The purpose of the agreement is to have all the conditions and legal status of American soldiers, their family members and civilian employees prepared in case of an escalation of the crisis, so that if something like this happens, then we do not have to negotiate technical and legal conditions for six months afterwards.The stay of foreign soldiers must be approved by the parliament. Then why is this contract needed?The contract is very extensive, has about 40 pages, and deals with all aspects of the stay of American soldiers, including criminal jurisdiction, communication between the Czech Ministry of Defense and the American armed forces, customs and tax matters, the stay of family members of American soldiers and the conditions of employment of civilian workers. But also such things as environmental protection.The stay of the allied armed forces in our territory must of course be approved by the parliament, but we are negotiating the DCA contract so that the possible stay is prepared in advance from a technical, administrative and logistical point of view and so that we do not have to deal with it every time again and in a hurry. That is, to be prepared even for the event that a crisis situation arises and the Czech and American governments agree that American soldiers will operate in our country.Does the contract include the possibility of building an American base on our territory?There are no specific proposals for the operation of American soldiers on Czech territory in the treaty. The contract speaks generally about the fact that American soldiers will be able to work in military installations and training areas in the Czech Republic based on mutual agreement. But no American soldier will appear in the Czech Republic without the Czech side deciding on it. The DCA itself does not create any automatic right for the United States to send its troops to us.The last time they approved a similar contract was in Slovakia. There they finally accepted the so-called interpretation clause to make it clear that the USA would not build bases in Slovakia. Is something similar being prepared here?We followed the preparation and approval of the contract in Slovakia. Of course, I can’t comment on it and I don’t want to compare it, because the conditions and attitudes of people here are different than in Slovakia. But we do everything to ensure that the contract is really well prepared and mutually clarified in detail. Therefore, I do not assume that any interpretation clause will be needed.I repeat that, as before, even after the approval of the DCA, an American soldier will not appear on the territory of the Czech Republic without the Czech side agreeing to it.The draft contract does not mention any specific basis and an interpretation clause will not be necessary because both parties will know what they have agreed to. It is of course possible that in the near or distant future the Czech Republic and the United States will agree on some larger and longer-term American military presence in the Czech Republic, but this will be a separate decision that does not directly follow from the DCA agreement.The Americans are sending grenades stored in Israel to UkraineThe war in UkraineWhy is there a need for criminal jurisdiction over American soldiers to be transferred to the American side?I understand that this is an important matter that will legitimately interest the Czech public. But I must say that there is nothing surprising or controversial in this regard in the draft treaty that is not already contained in the existing NATO SOFA treaty. According to it, members of the allied armed forces are subject to the jurisdiction of the sending state.This is a general principle that has been valid in our country for two decades, it is valid in all NATO member states and it also applies in the case of Czech soldiers who are sent to other allied countries.In the DCA agreement, however, we go beyond the scope of the NATO SOFA agreement. In the event that we want a soldier suspected of committing a crime outside of the performance of his official duties to be investigated and tried in the Czech Republic, we will notify the American side and they will comply with this on the basis of the contract.In what cases will the Czech side request that the American soldier be investigated and tried in the Czech Republic? In the case of serious crimes such as rape or murder?There is a general wording in the draft contract. When the Czech side comes to the conclusion that it wants to demand the soldier, so be it.24 NATO member countries already have a similar agreement with the USA, is ours any different?The Czech Republic is the only country of NATO’s eastern wing that does not have this agreement with the Americans. It probably won’t surprise us in the case of the Baltics or Poland, but the Hungarians, Bulgarians, Romanians and now the Slovaks also have the same agreement. In addition, the older member states have American bases on their territory dating back to the Cold War. This is an advantage for us, because when negotiating with the Americans we could rely on the wording of the 24 existing agreements and we could choose the solutions that suit us best.In principle, our contract will be plus or minus the same as the others. But there will be some language differences. A large part of the negotiations concerned mutual clarification of exactly what the individual provisions mean for each party, so that we are not surprised when the agreement is implemented in the future.When will the wording of the contract be ready?We have already negotiated almost the entire text at the working level. In addition to many partial consultations, four full-fledged negotiation rounds took place not only between the Czech Ministry of Defense and the US State Department, but experts from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Finance, Justice, Interior, Labor and Social Affairs always participated on behalf of the Czech side.We have a strong political mandate from the Czech government to complete this to mutual satisfaction as soon as possible. I believe that the contract could reach the government during March. If the government approves it, it will then be signed and then submitted to parliament for ratification. Finally, the President’s signature is also needed, as this is a top-level treaty. Hopefully it could be done during the…