Oil prices on world markets have been growing recently mainly due to the political crisis in Venezuela and the looming war against Iraq. Although the oil prices decreased slightly after the oil cartel OPEC hinted it might increase output to compensate for the dropout in Venezuela's exports, the main risk factors remain in place. The Czech Republic is dependent on oil imports and turbulence on the oil market can seriously affect its economy. However, a favourable exchange rate for the Czech crown to the US dollar is helping to compensate for the
The Czech government announced on Wednesday evening that Washington had formally asked for support in any military action against Iraq. Following a three-hour meeting of the National Security Council, Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla said the cabinet would discuss the request in detail next week before presenting it to parliament for approval.
President Vaclav Havel, currently on a six-day state visit to the United States, has met the U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan in New York. The two men stressed the importance of a U.N. Security Council resolution on Iraq. President Havel said any resolution on Iraq should lay down clear demands, but if such demands were rejected, the path to military action would be open. Mr Havel stressed that any action should be carried out by a broad international coalition, possibly involving NATO.