Czech President Vaclav Havel and his Austrian counterpart Thomas Klestil tried to cleanse the sticky atmosphere in mutual relations

Vaclav Havel

By Alena Skodova.

President Vaclav Havel held talks with his Austrian counterpart Thomas Klestil in Vienna on Thursday, with the aim of showing that despite recent tensions Czech-Austrian relations are still on course, with trade between the two countries at record levels. But the visit was not all harmony. The Czech president's arrival was accompanied by a handful of activists outside Vienna's Hofburg, who had come to protest against the Temelin nuclear power plant and against the Benes Decrees of 1945 when ethnic Germans were expelled from Czechoslovakia after the Second World War, and the two issues also dominated a press conference held by the two heads of state. Earlier I spoke to my colleague Silja Schultheis, who accompanied the president to Vienna. I began by asking her what she thought was the most important aspect of the visit.