News Saturday, MAY 08th, 1999

Radio Prague E-news Date: May 8th, 1999

Those were the headlines and now the news in more detail:

Czech politicians welcome G8 initiative

The governing Social Democratic Party has welcomed the peace initiative of the G8. Stanislav Gross, a leading party official, said on Friday the proposed peace plan was a significant step towards a diplomatic solution to the conflict. The eight foreign ministers agreed on Thursday to a common strategy for resolving the crisis, narrowing sharp differences between Russia and the West, but leaving details of the plan to be worked out by senior diplomats before jointly seeking a United Nations resolution to establish peace in the province. Gross said it would now be up to the Yugoslav leadership to respond positively and bring about an end to the bloodshed. The outcome of the G8 meeting has already received high praise from the Speaker of the Lower House and opposition leader Vaclav Klaus. The Christian Democratic Party has described it as an optimistic development and even the leader of the Communist party of Bohemia and Moravia, which has strongly opposed to NATO air strikes, has conceded that this is a positive development for peace in the Balkans.

Kavan says UN mandate desirable

Meanwhile, after a meeting of Council of Europe foreign ministers in Budapest , Czech foreign minister Jan Kavan emphasized that the way out of the Kosovo crisis was for Milosevic to accept NATO’s five conditions , including the presence of an international military force in Kosovo and temporary international administration for the region. He said Kosovo should receive considerable autonomy and the multinational military force should have a UN mandate . The Czech foreign minister further stated that his country would be prepared to participate in such a multi national force and expressed support for Greece and Hungary’s proposal for a Marshall-type plan for Yugoslavia.

Austrian official calls for Czech ambassador to the EU to be dismissed

Austrian commissioner for nuclear safety Radko Pavlovec has demanded that the Czech Republic’s ambassador to the EU Josef Kreuter be recalled from office for having rudely dismissed an EU resolution on the Temelin nuclear power plant under construction in southern Bohemia. The resolution has criticized the project and recommended that the Czech government find an alternative energy solution. The Czech ambassador to the EU was strong in his condemnation of the resolution saying that the study on the grounds of which this decision was reached was “ a load of lies, half-truths and deliberate misinterpretations” . He said information provided by the Czech Republic had not been taken into account and therefore the EU resolution could not be taken seriously. The Austrian commissioner was outraged by this statement saying that if the Czech Republic wanted to save its reputation it had to dismiss the official.

Controversy over Temelin continues

Here in the Czech Republic controversy over the future of Temelin continues. While Christian Democrat mp Libor Ambrozek told the ctk newsagency the government should take the EU resolution into account , Stanislav Gross of the Social Democrats said the arguments presented by the European Parliament to justify its recommendation were not based on reality. “If I were to vote on the issue , on the grounds of the information available, I would vote in favor of Temelin’s completion” Gross said. The Cabinet is to reach a final decision next Wednesday and observers believe it will be a close vote.

More Kosovo refugees arrive in Czech Republic

Another planeload of Kosovo refugees has arrived in the Czech Republic. All were reported to be in fairly good health physically and the ambulances awaiting them at Prague airport did not have to be used. According to a social worker who met them, they were relieved to have reached a haven of safety but seriously disturbed over having lost their home and country. Many of them allegedly went down on their knees and kissed the ground before boarding the plane and the vast majority want to go back as soon as conditions allow.

Cedar tree to symbolize Czech-Israeli friendship

In a symbolic gesture of friendship between the Czech Republic and Israel President Vaclav Havel and the Israeli ambassador to Prague Rafael Gvir on Friday planted a royal cedar of Lebanon at the Royal Gardens of Prague Castle. The Czech President, who has visited Israel twice as head of state, expressed the hope that the Israeli state would be able to live in peace and flourish.

Finally a look at the weather: the weekend may turn out to be something of a disappointment weather-wise I’m afraid. Although Saturday’s temperatures will remain fairly high – between 16 and 20 degs C- we are told to expect little or no sunshine. Overcast skies and the possibility of scattered showers on Saturday, while Sunday will bring a drop in temperatures by two to three degs and –if meteorologists are to be believed –persistent rain across most of the country. I hope you manage to have an enjoyable weekend, nevertheless….