Statue of Edvard Benes unveiled in Prague

The Czech Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek, the chairman of the lower house, Lubomir Zaoralek and other top officials have unveiled a statue of the second Czechoslovak President Edvard Benes in front the Foreign Ministry at Prague Castle. Mr Zaoralek said that President Benes stood at the birth of democratic Czechoslovakia and stood firmly on the side of those who fought Nazism. Mr Zaoralek also dismissed criticism of President Benes coming from some Sudeten German groups. For example, Bavaria's state premier Edmund Stoiber said at the weekend's meeting of the Sudeten German Landsmanschaft that the unveiling of President Benes's statue was a provocation. Mr Stoiber again criticized the so called Benes decrees which formed a legal basis for the expulsion of over 2.5 million Sudeten Germans from post war Czechoslovakia.