Final Word from Monday, February 17, 2003

EU members will meet today to reconcile their differences over Iraq, but the candidate countries haven't been invited. This upset Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda, who told Lidové noviny that the candidates should've at least been asked to give their views. The EU candidates are mostly seen as pro-American pro-U.S., and in the case of the CR this is largely because Václav Havel signed the "gang of eight" letter. Analyst Martin Švehla said that Deputy Foreign Minister Alexandr Vondra pulled a dirty trick on Svoboda and Vladimír Špidla by having Havel sign the letter. Under normal circumstances, Švehla said, Vondra would eventually be sacked for showing loyalty to Havel and not Svoboda. Havel's signature is now having specific repercussions. Špidla and Svoboda are being left out of today's meeting but have been summoned to Brussels tomorrow to hear what decisions were made.


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