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Bush To Meet With Czech Leaders On Missile Defense

George and Laura Bush arriving in Prague late on June 4 (AFP) June 5, 2007 -- U.S. President George W. Bush is in Prague today for talks with the Czech president and prime minister about installing a radar in the Czech Republic as part of a proposed antimissile system.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned against the missile-shield idea, saying Russia could retaliate by aiming Russian missiles at European targets if the plan goes forward.

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Putin's comments were "not helpful, certainly surprising. They have more of the ring of 1977 than they do 2007."

NATO has also criticized Putin over his remarks.

During his one-day visit to Prague, Bush will also address a pro-democracy conference. In his speech, he is expected to talk about difficulties of promoting democracy in countries such as Russia.

Prague is the first stop on Bush's six-nation European tour which will include the Group of Eight (G8) major industrial nations' summit in Germany this week where he is set for a meeting with Putin.

(compiled from agency reports)