Final Word from Tuesday, November 25, 2003





U.S. Amb. Craig Stapleton gave a warm assessment of the CR in a teary farewell address at the foreign ministry yesterday. Not since then-EU Amb. Ramiro Cibrián switched gears last year and became all praise for the CR have we heard such an upbeat speech. Stapleton found kind words for Vladimír Špidla, Václav Klaus, Václav Havel, Miloš Zeman and Czech transformation in general. Director Jiří Šedivý of the Institute of International Relations, which hosted the event, jokingly called it "preemptive optimism." Stapleton touched on just a few controversial issues, such as corruption. Some who live here might have thought he was painting too pretty a picture, but Sen. Edvard Outrata said after the speech that Stapleton gave a bird's-eye view of the CR and that the optimism was well-placed. All the problems and scandals here are coming to light, Outrata said, and that's the first step toward overcoming them. Ambassador

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