Tourists who chose this Monday and Tuesday for quick stopovers in Prague picked the worst possible time if they were hoping to see the area of Prague Castle. To put it bluntly, they won't. The Castle and more immediate surroundings have been closed off as part of intense security in place ahead of the arrival of US President George W. Bush. In terms of security, Prague has rarely seen anything like it (the closest perhaps being a NATO Summit in 2002).
George W. Bush arrives in Prague on Monday evening for a visit that is likely to be dominated by missile defence - Czech and U.S. officials are currently involved in talks on building a radar base some 70km from Prague. The proposal, however, has produced much soul-searching about the Czech Republic's relationship with its most powerful ally. Among those attending the recent anti-radar base demonstrations in Prague was Tom Cassidy, a 24-year-old American veteran of the Iraq war, who is now campaigning in Europe against U.S. foreign policy. Earlier
The Prague authorities say there will be considerable disruption to
transport in the city during a visit by US President George Bush at the
beginning of next week. Cars will not be allowed to stop along any of the
routes Mr Bush is expected to take on Monday evening or during the day on
Tuesday. The biggest restrictions are due around Prague Castle, which will
be closed off.
George Bush will discuss plans to build a US radar base in the Czech Republic with the country's president, Vaclav Klaus, and prime minister, Mirek Topolanek. He is also due to deliver a key-note speech at a conference, and may visit the Radio Free Europe headquarters in the centre of the Czech capital.
Early in June US President George W. Bush will visit the Czech Republic. The American Head of State will be meeting with his Czech counterpart Vaclav Klaus and other senior politicians. Washington's visa policy and its plans to build a radar station on Czech soil are topics expected to be discussed the most. To get the US position on both issues ahead of Mr Bush's visit, our colleague Daniel Raus from Czech Radio 6 met with the US Ambassador to Prague Richard Graber.
This time two weeks US President George Bush will be here in Prague to attend a conference on democracy and security. The American leader will also discuss the planned building of a US radar base in central Bohemia with senior Czech politicians, during a visit that is expected to last a day and a half. A number of anti-Bush protests have already been announced, and we can expect the kind of security operation rarely seen in the Czech capital.
The Czech foreign minister, Karel Schwarzenberg, has described Austrian
protesters against a Czech nuclear power plant as "loonies"
("magory"). Speaking to Czech television cameras, Mr
Schwarzenberg said "knowing those loonies, they would continue
holding border blockades". This week Austrian anti-nuclear activists
would block all 16 crossings between the two states, if Vienna did not
file a lawsuit against the Czech Republic. The Austrian government has
sent a diplomatic note, saying the Czechs had not fulfilled the Melk
agreement on safety at the Temelin nuclear station in south Bohemia.
Speaking on a visit to Prague on Friday, Austrian Interior Minister Gunther Platter said his government was committed to ensuring free movement on the border, regardless of developments in the dispute over Temelin.
The dispute surrounding the Temelin nuclear power plant in South Bohemia is very much back on the agenda. Last week Austrian anti-nuclear demonstrators blockaded a number of border crossings, the latest in a series of protests. They say they will close down the entire border if the Austrian government fails to file an international lawsuit against the Czech Republic over Temelin. This week Vienna sent a diplomatic note to Prague, protesting at what Austria claims is the Czechs' failure to comply with the 2000 Melk Agreement on safety at Temelin.
The Austrian government has accused the Czech Republic of not fulfilling
all its obligations regarding an agreement on the Temelin nuclear power
plant in south Bohemia. Austria's chancellor, Alfred Gusenbauer, said a
diplomatic note had been sent to Prague, though he said his government had
not filed a lawsuit against the Czech state. For its part, the Czech
government says it has kept its side of what is called the Melk agreement
on safety at Temelin.
Austrian anti-nuclear groups have said if their government does not take legal action against the Czech Republic within four weeks they will again hold protest blockades at all 16 border crossings between the two states. They warned that future protests would be longer than the two-hour blockades held to date.
Madeleine Albright, the Prague-born former United States secretary of state, is celebrating her 70th birthday. Born Marie Jana Korbelova on May 15 1937, she was forced to flee her native country twice, first from the Nazis, then from the Communists. Her career reached a peak in 1997, when she became the first woman in history to head the US State Department.
At a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday, Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg took time off from the official talks to try and resolve a drawn-out bilateral problem with neighboring Austria. In a private meeting with his Austrian counterpart, Ursula Plassnik, Mr. Schwarzenberg said that Czech patience with continuing Austrian border blockades by anti-nuclear activists was running thin. He warned that if Austrian opponents of the Temelin nuclear power plant continued to restrict free movement at the Czech -Austrian border
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