Final Word from Friday, January 31, 2003

As a way to show that this isn't just America's war, seven European prime ministers and Václav Havel ran an article in a dozen newspapers yesterday supporting U.S. policy on Iraq. Vladimír Špidla refused to sign, indicating that the CR doesn't have a united view on Iraq. The U.S. would like to think the CR is fully on board, but the Czech stance has been moving progressively from hawkish to lukewarm. Defense Minister Jaroslav Tvrdík, the cabinet's biggest hawk, told the BBC yesterday that the CR is in the middle between two extremes: the U.S. and U.K. on the one side, and France and Germany on the other. The CR's approach is very balanced, he said. Martin Hekrdla of Právo says today that yesterday's article was another phase of U.S. war propaganda. Havel, under the sway of ex-Amb. to the U.S. Alexandr Vondra, bought it; Špidla, a Francophile, did not.


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