Prague, July 20 (CTK) – The upper house of Czech parliament smoothly ratified the Czech-Slovak treaty of cooperation on mutual protection of airspace today, thanks to which the air forces of the two countries can guard their airspace together.

None of the 65 senators voted against the treaty, six abstained from the vote.

The Czech and Slovak defence ministers, Martin Stropnicky and Peter Gajdos, signed the treaty in February, after the Slovak and Czech government approved it. The Slovak parliament ratified it in June. The other house of Czech parliament, the Chamber of Deputies, is to do so in September. The ratification process is to be completed with the presidents of the two countries adding their signatures under it.

The cooperation between Slovakia and the Czech Republic is broader than the NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence System (NATINAMDS), which is designated for protection against military threats. The Czech air force participates in it with two Gripen fighters that are under NATO command.

The bilateral agreement will allow pilots to interfere on the territory of the other country even with arms if terrorists kidnapped a civilian plane or if they wanted to launch an attack with it.

If one of the countries was unable to protect its airspace, the other would assist it, under the treaty.

The Czech air force uses Gripen fighters, while Slovakia has older Russian-made MiG-29s. Gajdos said previously that this was no obstacle to the cooperation.