Final Word from Tuesday, December 16, 2003





The Czech press is full of reports today about how U.S. Commerce Secretary Donald Evans lobbied in Prague yesterday in favor of F-16 fighters, just two days before a cabinet decision was expected. Lobbying is a dirty word in the CR, but top-level ear-bending in such cases is quite normal. Tony Blair visited the CR last year soon before an earlier decision on fighters was expected, and Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda told Czech Radio that Czech officials should be lobbying for Czech firms too. The supersonic fighters were the topic of the day, but Evans had a subsonic message of perhaps greater long-term significance. He told the American Chamber of Commerce that for the CR (or any other country) to attract capital and investors, the most important thing is for the people to be honest and truthful. It was a simple but powerful message that isn't often spoken. Gripens

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