News Monday, FEBRUARY 09th, 1998

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Radio Prague E news Date: February 9, 1998 Written/read by: Alena Skodova

Hello and welcome to the programme. I'm AS and we start as usual with the news:

Sedivy in USA

Czech Foreign minister Jaroslav Sedivy has arrived in Washington D.C., to lobby - together with his counterparts from Poland and Hungary - for a successful ratification of these countries' admission to NATO. Before his departure Mr. Sedivy told newsmen he felt sorry that he would not be able to boast of our parliament's approval of joining the Alliance. Although Sedivy asked the House of Deputies to discuss this matter last week, his efforts failed. Mr. Sedivy does not think, though, that this might negatively influence his talks in Washington, because the Czech parliament will discuss this question next week. Jaroslav Sedivy and his colleagues Bronislav Geremek and Laszlo Kovacs will have talks in Washington with top representatives of the American Senate, which is expected to vote in spring about the three countries' admission to NATO, and they will also talk with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. The accessive protocols were ratified last week by Denmark and Canada and the Czech Foreign minister hopes that all 16 NATO members will have ratified the protocols by the end of the year.

Social democrats-Kinkel

The negative reaction expressed in Bonn by German Foreign minister Klaus Kinkel on Saturday won't change the Czech Social democrat reaction to the news that the leader of the Sudeten German landsmanschaft Franz Neubauer, was appointed to a Czech-German forum set up by the Czech German declaration. The Chairman of the Social democrat parliamentary deputy club, Stanislav Gross, told this to a press conference in Kladno. Last Friday Social democrat leader Milos Zeman, told parliament that his party would not take a seat in any body where Neubauer would appear. Gross added that despite the fact that in the discussion forum people with opposite standpoints could discuss various problems, Neubauer, sitting in the administrative centre of this body, would be entrusted to look for the themes they would discuss. "If this body is governed by a man who has been advocating the autonomy of formed Sudeten territories, the whole discussion might well develop into something counterproductive," said Gross.

Law on Financing political parties

In Sunday's Debate broadcast on Czech TV, a member of the local administration in Liberec, Jiri Vacek from the Christian democratic Union said that the future law on the financing of political parties should include a control of municipal administrations. "Lobbying is a typical way of corrupting politicians and clerks, and I think that corruption in the Czech republic does exist," said Vacek, adding that in many cases managers of various public organizations are at the same time local administration members, which might very well lead to a conflict of interests. "Such people do not vote only about their money, but also about their appointing or calling off," said Vacek. All participants in Sunday's debate agreed that the political parties should limit their expenses on the upcoming elections and learn to save party money. A bill on the financing of political parties is being prepared by the new Czech Interior minister Cyril Svoboda.

ODA-financing

According to Deputy chairman of the Civic democratic alliance, Miroslav Toser, it is not necessary to make public the name of a person from the alliance's leadership who had guaranteed anonymity to two Czech and one foreign sponsors, operating under the name of a fictitious TMC company from the Virgin Islands. However, the ODA should hold talks about making public the names of the sponsors, said Tosler. "My opinion is that we should negotiate on revealing their identity as the present situation might be dangerous for them, and people could think there's something secret behind the whole affair," Tosler added. ODA chairman Jiri Skalicky said last Friday that his party's sponsors were respected companies, which have nothing in common with privatization in our country.

Weather

And finally a quick look at the weather: It will be cloudy to overcast in the Czech republic today, with occasional snow showers, and daily highs between 4 and 8 degrees Celsius.