Prague and Vienna in confrontation over parliamentary resolution

VIENNA, Austria, Oct. 22, 2000 (APA)à‚–Prague and Vienna were in open confrontation at the weekend over the Austrian parliament’s latest resolution against the Czech nuclear power station at Temelin.

The Austrians should not interfere in Czech affairs, said Prime Minister Milos Zeman.

“If Temelin accords with European demands for nuclear safety, it must also be noted that it stands on the territory of the Czech Republic, not of the Austrian Republic.”

Czech vice-prime minister and justice minister Pavel Rychetsky said his country’s relations with no other country were as bad as with Austria.

Trade and Industry Minister Miroslav Gregr said the Austrian parliament’s decision was “absurd.”

“Shadow foreign minister” of the opposition conservative ODS Jan Zahradil dismissed it as “stupid.”

Czech speaker of parliament Vaclav Klaus, who visited Austria two days before the resolution, said his partners in discussions had not said a word to him that any such thing was being prepared.

“I’m really insulted. I don’t behave like that in politics, and I am very sorry that Austrian politicians behave like that.”

The Prague newspaper Pravo meanwhile reported that following the resolution, Zeman was doubtful about meeting Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel as planned in the Czech town of Brno on October 31.

Austria’s EU commissioner Franz Fischler said that Prague attitude about Temelin was unacceptable.

If its main goal was in future to be part of a community, it was not very wise to completely alienate its immediate neighbours, said Agriculture Commissioner Fischler in the Vienna newspaper Die Presse.

On Wednesday night the Austrian parliament passed an all-party resolution against the operation of Temelin.

Environment Minister Wilhelm Molterer said the the government would “naturally” continue fighting for safety at the plant 60 kilometers from the northern Austrian border.

He claimed that the EU Commission, too, gave “highest priority” to the question of nuclear safety in the Czech process of joining the EU.

Molterer repeated Austria’s position that a conclusion of the current “energy chapter” of Czech EU membership negotiations would only be possible when nuclear safety questions had been adequately answered.

Copyright 2000 Austria Presse Agentur Ben.m.b.H (APA). All Rights Reserved.

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