News Friday, JUNE 11th, 1999

Hello and welcome to Radio Prague. I'm Vladimir Tax and here's the news. First the headlines.

These are the main points and now the news in more detail.

Foreign Ministry welcomes end of NATO air strikes

The Czech Foreign Ministry has welcomed NATOþs decision to discontinue the air strikes on Yugoslavia. The ministry said in a statement that it hopes the Yugoslav army and police will pull out from Kosovo according to the schedule and conditions agreed on by NATO and Belgrade. The ministry also said that the logic, the sequence of individual steps and almost all the essential points of the G8's agreement, which was accepted by the Yugoslav government and the Serbian Parliament last week, correspond to the proposals featured in the previous Czech-Greek diplomatic initiative aimed to end the Kosovo conflict.

Zeman praises cease-fire, Russian participation

Premier Milos Zeman welcomed the end to the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia as well as that a military ground operation was not launched in Kosovo. He also said that the peace agreement under which Yugoslavia started withdrawing its troops from Kosovo, and NATO stopped its air strikes, contains points which the Czech government has always pushed for. He added that he was glad that the conditions included also disarming the Kosovo Liberation Army and Russia's participation in the planned peace operation.

Czech Rep. to take active part in Stability Pact - Kavan

The Czech Republic will take an active part in two of the three major fields of the Pact of Stability for south-eastern Europe, Foreign Minister Jan Kavan told CTK after a preparatory conference for the pact. The Czech Republic has already started to look for areas where it could best contribute to the reconstruction effort. It could participate in the reconstruction of electric power plants, bridges and others, and the government has already submitted a first draft with 39 projects. The Czech Republic is also looking at the possibilities of participating in bilateral actions with Italy and in joint actions within the Central European Initiative over which it currently presides. Another sphere where the Czech Republic will take part is the building of democratic institutions in the Balkans and it will continue organising humanitarian assistance to the region.

Company for Kosovo to be ready in two weeks

The Czech Army reconnaissance unit, which is to become part of the KFOR peacekeeping forces in Kosovo, will be ready for deployment in two weeks. Josef Trojan, commander of the Prostejov-based special brigade, told reporters that the brigade's soldiers had been trained for such an operation and now they would only undergo further training focusing on the KFOR tasks.

Dienstbier: KLA may occupy space vacated by Serb units

U.N. special human rights envoy for Yugoslavia and former Czech foreign minister Jiri Dienstbier has warned that it will be difficult to prevent the Kosovo Liberation Army from taking up the space vacated by Serbian armed forces before the arrival of international peacekeepers. He recalled that some KLA members had said that they do not accept the conditions raised by the G8 group and that they would be the army of a future independent Kosovo, and even spoke about a future Greater Albania.

TV Nova's licence owner picks new service provider

Former director of the commercial TV Nova station has picked a new service provider. His company CET 21, which owns the broadcasting licence of the successful TV Nova, said in a statement that it had chosen a little-known Czech company Ceska Produkcni 2000 to provide programmes and services. The move further escalates an ongoing battle between CET 21, controlled by Vladimir Zelezny, and Bermuda-based Central European Media Enterprises (CME), the owners of CNTS, a company which has provided all TV Nova's programming since the station was launched in 1994. CME sacked Zelezny as CNTS's director in April, claiming Zelezny had abused his powers to strip assets from the station. Ceska Produkcni spokesman Zdenek Jakl said the company had secured a credit line of up to one billion crowns from Czech bank IPB to set up infrastructure to provide broadcasting content for Nova.

Soccer - Votava joins Munich

Soccer - Czech international defender Tomas Votava is joining TSV 1860 Munich from Sparta Prague. The German first division club said that the 25-year-old Votava, who has won nine cups for the Czech Republic, would sign a three-year contract for an undisclosed fee.

Czech weather report

And finally, the weather. We are expecting a partially cloudy day with scattered showers, afternoon highs should range from 20 to 24 degrees Celsius. And a brief outlook for the weekend: it should be much the same, cloudy or partially cloudy with occasional showers, with temperatures hovering around 20 degrees Celsius.

And that's the end of the news.