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Czech president arrives in Moscow to discuss radar plans

MOSCOW, April 26 (RIA Novosti) - The president of the Czech Republic arrived in Russia Thursday on an official visit to be dominated by discussions of U.S. plans to deploy a missile defense radar in the Central European state.

The Czech government decided March 28 to begin negotiations with the United States on the proposed deployment of a radar that Washington has said is designed, along with a missile base in Poland, to counter possible strikes from Iran. Russia has said the plans represent a threat to its national security.

George W. Bush will visit the former Communist-bloc country June 4-5 and will travel on to Poland June 8 for missile shield talks, media reports said earlier.

Vaclav Klaus, who is being accompanied by the finance minister, the industry and trade minister and business leaders, will meet with President Vladimir Putin, the parliamentary speaker and Moscow's mayor, and will attend a business forum organized by Russia's Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The visit will bring an agreement on the maintenance and modernization of Russian-made Mi-24 Hind helicopters in the Czech Republic, an agreement on the mutual protection of intellectual property rights in military cooperation, and a protocol to a deal to avoid double taxation.

Klaus is also expected to visit the Novodevichy cemetery to pay his respects to Boris Yeltsin, Russia's first post-Soviet president who died of heart failure Monday at the age of 76 and was buried Wednesday.

On Sunday, the last day of his visit to Russia, Klaus will visit Kazan, the capital of the oil-rich republic of Tatarstan, for a meeting with its president and to attend a business forum.

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