The Czech Republic has expressed support for a fresh EU agreement concerning the Iraq crisis. Late on Thursday, 15 EU leaders agreed on the need to urgently address the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people, offered to support the creation of representative government and urged the U.N. be given a "central role during and after the current crisis." Czech Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla said the Czech Republic fully supported the idea of a UN-coordinated reconstruction of post-war Iraq.
At the same time, Mr Spidla said the Czech Republic would not react to a US call for governments worldwide to close down Iraqi embassies.
The Czech Republic deployed an anti-chemical unit in Kuwait but conditioned their engagement in the war without a UN mandate. Otherwise, the troops will only provide humanitarian aid if Iraq uses weapons of mass destruction.
The opposition Communist Party has recommended its supporters to vote against the Czech Republic's EU entry in an upcoming referendum. Party leader Miroslav Grebenicek said on Saturday that the Central Committee of the Communist Party are not entirely against EU membership in the long run but are deeply dissatisfied with the accession conditions negotiated by the Czech government. They also believe the Czech Republic is not ready for the step as yet. The Communists enjoy a stable support of around 20 percent of the vote and came as the third strongest party in general elections last year. Czechs will vote on their country's EU accession in a referendum in mid-June. In a recent survey, about 80 percent of those asked were in favour of the Czech EU membership.
The security situation in the Czech Republic has remained unchanged since the beginning of the war in Iraq, according to defence minister Jaroslav Tvrdik. He said there was no reason to adopt any other special measures and that crisis committees will meet less often than in the first days of the war. Several hundred soldiers have been assigned to assist the police in protecting strategic buildings and installations across the country as well as foreign embassies in Prague.
After seven months, the Prague subway system resumed full operation on Saturday. Substantial parts of the network were damaged by devastating floods last August. Although repair works are still underway and continue to cause delays, all stations are now open for normal traffic. At the same time, the transport authority closed down bus, tram and train lines that substituted for the inoperable underground. During the catastrophic floods which hit the Czech Republic in August 2002, about a half of the underground stations were flooded. The total damage is estimated at around 7 billion CZK or more than 200 million USD.
A Czech skier died in the Alps in Austria on Saturday. The 22-year old man died of a head injury after one of his skis fell off in full speed. He was sprung out of the downhill run and hit a boulder.
We are expecting another bright and sunny day, the highest daytime temperatures should range from 8 to 12 degrees Celsius.
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