Final Word from Friday, April 2, 2004

In the presence of U.S. Amb. William Cabaniss, Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda told the American Chamber of Commerce yesterday that the Czechs need to see the economic benefit of supporting U.S. policy in Iraq. He said he strongly believes Spain will withdraw its troops from Iraq and fears the Polish elections will have a similar effect on that country's policy. If the case for supporting the U.S. is lost today, he said, it might be lost for many years to come. For this reason, he said, he's asking the U.S. to be more active in supporting Czech business interests in Iraq. Svoboda's unusually direct appeal was an indication of his own weak position. He's been the biggest proponent of U.S. policy, and his message to Cabaniss seemed to be: "If the U.S. doesn't give me the tools I need to survive as minister, I won't be around much longer to help defend its policies."


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