• 11/19/2002

    As delegates to the NATO summit arrive in Prague, the police has stepped up its presence in the streets of the Czech capital. Twelve thousand policemen and four thousand soldiers have been assigned to protect the 2,000 summit delegates from anti-NATO demonstrators and terrorists. Over the next three days some parts of the Czech capital will be closed to the public.

  • 11/19/2002

    President Havel has expressed support for the idea of securing the Czech Republic's air defense system in cooperation with Slovakia. On Monday the Czech Cabinet officially cancelled a plan to buy 24 supersonic Gripen fighter jets as replacement for the country's aging Soviet-era planes. Faced with a mounting budget deficit and the cost of this year's devastating floods, the government has been forced to consider a less costly way of securing the country's air defense. One option that is being seriously considered is the possibility of cooperating on air defense with the Czech Republic's eastern neighbour Slovakia. The Slovak Foreign Minister Eduard Kukan has said Slovakia is ready to discuss the idea.

  • 11/18/2002

    A spokesman for the Czech foreign ministry has said Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma will be allowed to attend this week's NATO summit in Prague. The spokesman, speaking to the German news agency DPA, said there was "no political problem" in granting a visa to Mr Kuchma. There had been speculation that Prague would refuse to allow him to attend the summit, along with the Belarussian president Alexander Lukashenko, who was denied a visa last week. Mr Kuchma's government was recently accused of selling military equipment to Iraq, a charge he denies. The president has also been implicated in the murder of an investigative journalist.

    Author: Rob Cameron
  • 11/18/2002

    Earlier the Belarussian embassy said the country would be represented at the summit by Belarus's ambassador to NATO. The Belarussian authorities had previously threatened to boycott the summit altogether. Belarus has recalled its ambassador to Prague in protest at the decision not to grant Mr Lukashenko a visa.

    Author: Rob Cameron
  • 11/18/2002

    Czech police are stepping up their presence on the streets of Prague, as security arrangements for the two-day summit continue. Around 12,000 policemen will patrol the capital's streets on Thursday and Friday, in the country's largest ever security operation. Controls at border crossings have been tightened, while police marksmen will be deployed on rooftops. Rubbish bins have been removed from the city centre, amid fears of a bomb attack.

    Author: Rob Cameron
  • 11/18/2002

    A new opinion poll released on Monday shows public support for NATO at more than 60 percent. The survey, carried out by the CVVM agency, said 61 percent of Czechs were satisfied with their country's membership in the alliance, compared to 23 percent who said they were dissatisfied. However just under 50 percent of respondents were unhappy about the summit being held in Prague, while just 37 percent said it was good for the Czech Republic.

    Author: Rob Cameron
  • 11/18/2002

    European Union foreign ministers meeting in Brussels are reported to have decided on May 1st, 2004 as the date for the EU's enlargement to the east. Unnamed diplomats told the Reuters news agency that the Czech Republic and the nine other leading candidates for membership would probably join the EU one year after the signing of the EU accession treaty, expected in April 2003. The diplomats said the EU believed it would take the 15 member countries 12 months to ratify the treaty.

    Author: Rob Cameron
  • 11/17/2002

    Commemorative ceremonies took place across the Czech Republic on Sunday to mark the 13th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution which ended four decades of communist rule in the former Czechoslovakia. Top officials and members of the public laid flower and lighted candles on Narodni Trida, the Prague street where the communist police brutally cracked down on a peaceful student demonstration, setting in motion events which toppled the communist regime. November 17th, marked as "freedom and democracy day" in the Czech Republic is also linked to student protests against the Nazi and communist regimes in earlier years.

  • 11/17/2002

    A group of about 200 anarchists used the anniversary to protest against the upcoming NATO summit in Prague. They took the same route as the 1989 student demonstration, calling for a world free of militarism and elite groups. Marching to the sound of drums, the proponents of a new world order advocated an end to private ownership to be replaced by a system of self-government by the people. Their spokesman Jiri Krovinek told the CTK press agency that anarchists planned several peaceful protests during next week's NATO summit in Prague, but that they would defend themselves if they were attacked by the police. Sunday's anarchist march through the Czech capital passed without incident.

  • 11/17/2002

    Belarus has announced its intention to boycott the NATO summit in Prague. Angered by the Czech government's decision to deny President Lukashenko an entry visa to the Czech Republic, the Belarus Foreign Ministry said that no one would represent Belarus at the Council of Euro-Atlantic Partnership Conference due to be held on the second day of the summit. A spokesman for the Belarus Foreign Ministry said Prague had set "a dangerous precedent which questioned the unity of the Euro-Atlantic Alliance".

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