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Moscow hopes Czech situation not to affect Russia-EU summit


MOSCOW, March 26 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow hopes that the current political situation in the Czech Republic will not affect the planned Russia-EU summit in May, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Thursday.

The Czech Republic currently holds the rotating EU presidency and would have been represented at the summit by Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, but his government lost a vote of no confidence on Tuesday and resigned.

"We hope that the internal political situation in the Czech Republic will not affect the pace and intensity of the political dialogue between Russia and the European Union and will not change the schedule of events planned for the period of the Czech presidency," Andrei Nesterenko said.

The Czech Republic officially notified Russia on Wednesday that President Vaclav Klaus will represent the European Union at a regular Russia-EU summit in late May in Khabarovsk, in Russia's Far East.

Nesterenko also said Moscow sees no link between the resignation of the Czech government and U.S. plans to deploy part of its missile defense system in the country.

"As for a connection between this event [the resignation] and the missile shield - it is simply a coincidence. We should wait until the current situation in the Czech Republic is resolved and only then make forecasts," he said.

The opposition accused the government of Topolanek of inactivity during the ongoing global financial crisis and also reiterated its position against the government's plans to deploy elements of the U.S. missile shield in the country.

The agreement to station a U.S. radar about 90 kilometers (55 miles) southwest of Prague was signed on July 8, 2008, by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg.

The United States has cited Iran's controversial nuclear program as one of the reasons behind its plans to deploy a missile base in Poland and radar in the Czech Republic. Russia has strongly opposed the missile shield as a threat to its national security.

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