National Security Council meets to discuss security situation

Attack on USA, September 11th, 2001

The Czech Republic's National Security Council, made up of senior state officials, top ministers and defense officials met at Czech government headquarters on Tuesday, just hours after the White House put out a general alert on the possibility of new terror attacks against US targets at home and overseas. The meeting focused mainly on Czech security interests and on providing adequate protection for American citizens and institutions in the country. Both Prime Minister Milos Zeman and the Speaker of the Lower House Vaclav Klaus went out of their way to reassure the Czech public that there was no direct threat to the country. Daniela Lazarova asked the government spokesman Libor Roucek for more details.

"At the moment we don't have any evidence of a concrete threat against the Czech Republic, be it on Czech territory or with respect to Czech interests abroad."

We have heard speculation that members of the Al Qaeda terrorist network are fleeing Afghanistan and are heading for Europe allegedly via the Ukraine. Now, whether or not this is true, is the government satisfied that the Czech-Slovak border, our Eastern border, has been made adequately secure? 7

"It is not just a question of the Czech-Slovak border. This problem is much broader . Europe is open to the east and to the south and if we look at the number of refugees flooding to Europe it is very high - including refugees seeking to enter the Czech Republic."

I am talking about the possibility of terrorists entering the country.

"So far we have no evidence that terrorists plan to enter the Czech Republic. There is some information that 200 members of Al Qaeda left Afghanistan and are moving towards Europe via the Ukraine but so far we have no evidence that they plan to approach the Czech border."

Yes, but have we effected tightened border security?

"Yes we have, not only after Septemver 11th but in context with the illegal crossings. We are tightening security at the Czech-Slovak border and the Czech Austrian border as well."

So you are fairly confident that terrorists would not be able to enter the country undetected?

"At the moment we are confident. Of course no country in the world can give you a 100% guarantee. But we are doing our utmost to prevent terrorists entering the territory of the Czech Republic."

In view of the US warning to its citizens - have US institutions in the Czech Republic asked for greater protection? Or did you discuss giving them greater protection?

"US institutions in the Czech Republic have been given special protection. That was done after the September 11th terrorist attacks."

So no further measures have been taken as a result of the US warning this week?

"We can't discuss security details but the police -and the Czech authorities in general - are looking after US interests in this country."

There was a mention in the papers that you talked about water supplies and food supplies in the event of a terrorist attack - is that correct?

"That's correct. We have been checking emergency procedures regarding food and water supplies among other things, and if we find that something needs to be improved we'll do it."