News Thursday, JUNE 25th, 1998

Radio Prague E news Date: June 25, 1998 Written / read by: Alena Skodova

Hello and welcome to the programme. I'm Alena Skodova and we start as usual with the headlines:

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

Zeman meets Klaus

The two main political rivals and chairmen of the two strongest parties, Social democrat Milos Zeman and Vaclav Klaus from the ODS, have met at the first meeting initiated by Zeman after president Havel asked him to start negotiations on forming a new cabinet. The two men have agreed to work out long-term rules for communication between the main governmental and main opposition party, no matter which will be which. Klaus noted, however, this doesn't mean that ODS would tolerate a government headed by Social democrats. The ODS leader added that two other parties, the Christian democrats and the Freedom Union, might be contenders for a three-party coalition with Zeman's Social democrats, but they are as well contenders for a right-wing coalition with ODS.

Zeman told newsmen that the two chairmen would meet again next week, each of them being accompanied by a deputy chairman. He also announced that he'd like to achieve a solution which would ensure stability in the country and not lead to calling another early election. Communist leader Miroslav Grebenicek told Zeman his party would only tolerate a government comprised of Social and Christian democrats, if it efficiently stopped the deterioration of the social situation.

Social democrat parliamentary club

Top representatives of the Social democratic party have met at a consituent meeting of its parliamentary deputy club. They stressed the need for unity and capacity for action. The Social democrat deputy club will be the strongest in the future house of deputies with 74 members, and the Social democrats are the second party - after the Communists - to have established a deputy club. Milos Zeman said at the meeting-- which, untraditionally, journalists were allowed to attend-- that his party, the CSSD, is a team and not a party of one man, as ODS is. Deputy party chairman Stanislav Gross called on his colleagues to hold open discussions on any subject in the future lower house and expressed the hope that after the next elections, the Social democrats would have more than 80 deputies. Gross has been re-elected as chairman of the Social democrat deputy club.

Havel - classified information

President Vaclav Havel has signed the Classified Information Act. This piece of legislation is an essential pre-requisite for the Czech Republic's membership in the North Atlantic Alliance, and will enable our country to receive sensitive information from NATO. The law newly defines the conditions for protection of and work with classified documents and strengthens the position of the National Security Office. The absence of new legislation in this area was one of the main reservations NATO had about the Czech Republic.

Parliamentary meeting on July 14th

Milos Zeman has said that he intends to call a constituent meeting of the newly elected House of Deputies for July the 14th, although this date has yet to be consulted. According to the negotiation order, it's up to Zeman to call the first meeting of the lower house, because he had been its speaker in the previous period and was re-elected in last weekend's early parliamentary elections. The first step for starting work in the new House of deputies was president Havel's Tuesday decision to declare it in session on July the 7th. The session will then last for the whole election period - that's 4 years.

Military intelligence cooperation with NATO

The Czech government has given the green light to cooperation of Czech military intelligence with military intelligence services of the NATO member countries, according to Defence minister Michal Lobkowicz. "Our interest is to have closest possible contacts with our future allies, that is the members of the Alliance," Lobkowicz told newsmen. The Czech Republic is to become a NATO member - together with Poland and Hungary in April next year, when the Alliance will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its founding.

Interior ministers meet in Belgium

In the Belgian town of Ostende Interior ministers from Central and Eastern Europe have held talks with their counterparts from European Union countries on legal acts connected with the Schengen agreement on the free movement of persons. The EU ministers want to find out if their partners from the former Soviet block countries are willing to join the Schengen information system, strengthen border controls and put their visa policies in tune with those of EU states. The Czech Republic is represented by Deputy Interior Minister Vojtech Sedlacek.

And that's the end of the news.