Ministers: Temelin, Sudeten Germans will not stand in way of good relations

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The Czech and Austrian Foreign Ministers have said that disputes between the two countries will not stand in the way of good bilateral relations. After meeting his Austrian counterpart, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, in Vienna on Thursday, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kavan said that both the Temelin nuclear power plant and the post-war Benes Decrees - two issues that have caused friction between the two countries in the past - would not stand in the way of good Czech-Austrian relations and of the Czech Republic's candidacy for EU membership. Mrs. Ferrero-Walder, who has adopted a new foreign policy to improve ties with Austria's neighbours, said there were no disputes that couldn't be resolved through bilateral talks. Many Austrians are fiercely opposed to the Temelin nuclear power station in South Bohemia, while the post-war expulsion of Czechoslovakia's ethnic German minority has also soured relations in the past.

Anti-nuclear activists "withdraw" from Melk agreement; more blockades planned

And Austrian and Czech anti-Temelin activists announced on Thursday that they would conduct further blockades of the Czech-Austrian border in the near future. The Austrian and Czech Prime Ministers signed the Melk Agreement in December, in which they agreed to conduct an environmental impact study on Temelin. The agreement followed a series of border blockades last year. But most of the anti-nuclear activists have now decided to "withdraw" from the Melk Agreement, saying that the Czech Republic had failed to expose a number of safety problems at Temelin, and that Prague was not willing to communicate openly with the public.