• 03/20/2003

    A widespread security operation is in force in the country following the outbreak of hostilities in the Gulf. Heightened security is in place at airports, nuclear power stations, chemical plants, water treatment facilities as well as embassies and government offices, amid concerns that terrorist groups may launch an attack against the country. The authorities have said there is no concrete threat, but believe the heightened security is justified. On Wednesday the Czech Republic expelled four Iraqi diplomats, a move officials said was designed to prevent possible secret intelligence-gathering.

    Author: Rob Cameron
  • 03/20/2003

    Around 500 anti-war demonstrators gathered on Prague's Wenceslas Square on Thursday evening to protest against the war. Organisers said they intended to spend the night in front of the Government Office.

    Author: Rob Cameron
  • 03/19/2003

    The Czech government has said that in the event of war with Iraq the Czech Republic would support the US led alliance against the regime of Saddam Hussein. Following Wednesday's cabinet session Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda said that war was "a last resort" in forcing Saddam Hussein to comply with UN Security Council resolutions. "The government regrets that it was not possible to get a UN mandate for action," Mr. Svoboda said. Czech President Vaclav Klaus said he fully agrees with the government's stand. The Czech Republic is prepared to send humanitarian aid to the Iraqi people and take an active part in the post-war reconstruction of the country.

  • 03/19/2003

    The Czech Republic has expelled four Iraqi diplomats. The officials in question have been ordered to leave the country by Friday. According to Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda the decision was made on the basis of information from the country's intelligence service.

  • 03/19/2003

    Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla has cancelled a working visit to Slovakia in connection with the Iraqi crisis. The Prime Minister was to have met with the heads of government of Slovakia, Hungary and Poland to debate the international situation. According to a government spokesperson Thursday's Visegrad Group meeting in Bratislava will be attended by Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda.

  • 03/18/2003

    Vaclav Klaus has discussed the looming war with Iraq with his Slovak counterpart, Rudolf Schuster, on what is the Czech president's first official foreign visit since being appointed earlier this month. Mr Klaus said he stood by the Czech parliament's January resolution that it would only join the United States-led war if it was approved by the United Nations, or if Iraq used weapons of mass destruction. While in Bratislava, President Klaus also held talks with the Slovak prime minister, Mikulas Dzurinda, and parliamentary chairman, Pavol Hrusovsky.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • 03/18/2003

    The commander of the joint Czech-Slovak anti-chemical unit based in Kuwait, Dusan Lupuljev, said on Tuesday that his soldiers were in very good condition, both mentally and morally. The joint unit is ready to go into action within half an hour if weapons of mass destruction are used in Kuwait, and within two hours anywhere in the region, the commander said. Earlier this year the Czech military presence in the Persian Gulf was reinforced following a United States request for assistance in a possible war against Iraq.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • 03/17/2003

    The Czech National Security Council has called an emergency session to evaluate the future security situation in the country and discuss Czech policy as war looms in Iraq. As supreme commander of the Czech armed forces President Vaclav Klaus is also to attend the session. Following growing tension in the Gulf, the Czech Republic has closed down its embassy in Baghdad. On Monday, the last two embassy officials left the Iraqi capital. According to Foreign Ministry spokesman Vit Kolar the country's consular services have been transferred to Damascus, Syria.

    Author: Dita Asiedu
  • 03/16/2003

    The government is to discuss the verdict of the arbitration case in which the Czech Republic has been ordered to pay the US-based company CME over 10 billion crowns, or around 350 million US dollars, for failing to protect CME's investment in the Nova television station. The Finance Ministry said on Saturday it was preparing a variety of possible reactions to the verdict, which it would put before the cabinet on Wednesday.

    Meanwhile, the Council for Television and Radio Broadcasting has been coming under intense pressure for the way it has handled the TV Nova affair. The governing Social Democrats' deputies group has called for the council's dismissal.

    In 1999 Czech media magnate Vladimir Zelezny, whose company owned Nova's broadcast licence, squeezed investor CME out of the station before relaunching it himself. Mr Zelezny, who was elected to the Senate last year, is being investigated by Czech police on a number of fraud charges.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • 03/16/2003

    President Vaclav Klaus has praised the work of the Czech anti-chemical unit which is currently stationed in Kuwait. In a letter sent on Sunday, Mr Klaus said the troops had his trust and support, and that he was proud of them. The Czech presence in the Persian Gulf was reinforced earlier this year, following a US request for assistance in a possible war against Iraq. The Czech Republic will only send the troops into action if a second United Nations resolution is passed, or if Iraq uses weapons of mass destruction.

    Author: Ian Willoughby

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