Fact Sheet: The United States and the Czech Republic - NATO Allies and Partners in Prosperity and Democracy
Today President Obama hosted Prime Minister Petr Necas of the Czech Republic for a meeting in the Oval Office. The visit highlighted the three main areas of our bilateral relations: security cooperation, economic and commercial ties, and cooperation in support of democracy, open government and human rights around the world.
Security Cooperation. U.S.-Czech security cooperation is rooted in shared values, NATO membership, and joint efforts in Afghanistan and elsewhere, where our soldiers and civilians serve bravely side-by-side.
- Afghanistan. The Czech Republic has been a part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) since 2002 and is committed to remaining in Afghanistan through the completion of transition to Afghan security responsibility in 2014. Roughly 700 Czech soldiers, including Special Forces, operate without caveats or restrictions in one of the most challenging areas of Afghanistan. The United States greatly appreciates that the Czech Republic answered the call for more trainers and mentors in late 2010 and increased the size of its contingent by 200, which is directly in support of Afghan transition. The Czechs’ civilian-staffed Provincial Reconstruction Team in Logar province, co-located with United States forces, works to increase the effectiveness and extend the reach of the Afghan government, while providing infrastructure projects to stimulate the economy. The Czech contingent also includes aviators who are training Afghan pilots and crews to fly and maintain helicopters. Since 2002, the Czech Republic has contributed over $100 million in bilateral aid to Afghanistan.
- NATO. The Czech Republic is a strong supporter of the European Phased Adaptive Approach and our common efforts to create a NATO territorial missile defense capability. With U.S. participation, the Czech Republic hosts a NATO Center of Excellence for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense, helping NATO's military commanders and civilian decision-makers meet the potential threat of WMD attacks.
Reciprocal Defense Procurement Agreement. The United States and the Czech Republic intend to negotiate and sign in the coming months a Memorandum of Understanding that would facilitate trade in defense items and further strengthen bilateral commercial relations.
Civil Nuclear and Commercial Cooperation. The United States and the Czech Republic share a long history of civil nuclear cooperation based on shared interests, including promoting economic prosperity, supporting regional stability, and strengthening energy security. In the past year, the United States and the Czech Republic have taken a number of steps to continue deepening the bilateral relationship.
- Creation of a Civil Nuclear Cooperation Center in Prague. In December 2010, the United States and the Czech Republic signed a Joint Declaration on Civil Nuclear Energy expressing the commitment of both nations to cooperate on current and future civil nuclear projects and to encourage scientific and research cooperation. Given the existing and expected future cooperation between the two countries in these areas, the United States and Czech Republic have agreed to establish a Civil Nuclear Cooperation Center in Prague to facilitate and coordinate joint work.
- Broader R&D Cooperation. U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman announced in September 2011 a series of innovative programs, including joint research and academic exchanges, to expand bilateral civil nuclear cooperation between the United States and Czech Republic.
- Czech Nuclear Education Network. Texas A&M University and the Czech Nuclear Education Network (CENEN) signed in May 2011 a memorandum of understanding that targets several areas of intensive cooperation, including an exchange of students and faculty, joint research and development projects, and exchange of scientific materials.
- Nuclear Safety Cooperation. Our two national regulators, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Czech State Office for Nuclear Safety (SUJB), work closely together on nuclear safety, to include holding regular coordination meetings. Earlier this year, an SUJB representative attended the annual NRC conference and, in August 2011, a six-member team of NRC officials visited their Czech counterparts to discuss initiatives on: counterfeit, fraudulent and suspect items; approaches to physical security and cyber-terrorism; and the AP 1000, the new nuclear reactor design from Westinghouse Electric.
Support for Democracy, Open Government and Human Rights around the World. The United States and Czech Republic cooperate closely in supporting human rights, open government and democracy around the world. The Czech Republic’s successful and peaceful transition from a Communist regime to a thriving democracy make it a model for other countries in transition to follow. The United States appreciates the Czech Republic’s serving as an unwavering defender of human rights and democracy worldwide, including by hosting Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) in Prague.
- Middle East and North Africa. The Czech Republic supported the NATO intervention in Libya and Foreign Minister Schwarzenberg visited Benghazi June 29, offering early support to the Transitional National Council (TNC). The Czech government has provided substantial medical supplies to Benghazi, and has offered to assist in training the TNC in the areas of rule of law and the role of a free media. In Egypt, the Czech Republic has provided training to assist in reforming state security agencies. The United States and Czech Republic share a strong commitment to Israel’s security.
- Iran. The Czech Republic has been a leader within the EU on holding Iran accountable for its abuse of human rights and its failure to comply with its international obligations under the Nonproliferation Treaty.
- Cuba. Within the EU, the Czech Republic is a strong advocate for human rights in Cuba. The Czech Republic provides humanitarian aid, training, and other support for journalists, dissidents and their families.
- Burma. The Czech Republic provides valuable humanitarian and development aid in support of Burmese refugees and internally displaced persons on the border with Thailand and Malaysia. The Czech Republic stands by Burmese dissidents and democracy advocates, and is a strong advocate for EU and UN sanctions against the regime.
- Eastern Partnership. The Czech Republic launched the European Union’s Eastern Partnership initiative under its EU presidency in 2009, and has championed providing a European perspective and forum for discussing travel, trade and strategic relations to Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The Czech Republic has provided transition and development assistance, both bilaterally and through the International Visegrad Fund.
- Open Government Partnership. In September, the Czech Republic announced its intent to join the 47-member Open Government Partnership. The Czech Republic is a strong defender of human rights and democracy promotion worldwide, and it is demonstrating its leadership on these issues by fulfilling its OGP commitment to develop a domestic action plan and by working with OGP to advance its values in the region and around the world. The United States and the Czech Republic are exploring establishing an Open Government and Democracy Center in Prague to facilitate bilateral and regional cooperation.