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Havel Pledges Support for Baltic States' Bid to Join EU, NATO

Prague, April 11 (RFE/RL) - Czech President Vaclav Havel, speaking in Prague ahead of a visit to the Baltic states, pledged to support Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia in their quest to join the European Union (EU) and NATO.

Havel will travel to the Baltic countries next week. Referring to recent modern history, Havel said there had been two opposing trends in Czech politics during this century. He said the first one was "provincialist," tending to focus only on Prague's immediate neighbors and internal problems, while the other, favored by the first Czechoslovak President Tomas G. Masaryk, involved broader contacts. Havel said the Czech Republic was now striving to fulfill Masaryk's vision, rejecting provincialism.

Havel said "the whole of Europe is connected" and he called on Europeans to "build Europe in a new way." Havel pointed to the conflict in the former Yugoslavia as an example of how "one unresolved conflict can create problems for the whole continent."