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Czech Republic: President Havel's Condition Improves Slightly

Prague, 11 December 1996 (RFE/RL) - Czech President Vaclav Havel's spokesman announced a "slight improvement" in the leader's condition today. Havel, who underwent lung cancer surgery last week, is also suffering from pneumonia.

Spokesman Ladislav Spacek told CTK today that the 60-year-old head-of-state is undergoing intensive treatment for an ongoing pneumonia infection and is still on a respirator to help him breathe.

U.S. cancer expert Robert Ginsberg arrived in Prague yesterday to advise the team of 12 Czech doctors treating Havel in the intensive care ward of a local hospital.

Yesterday, the pathologist heading tests on the small malignant tumour removed along with part of Havel's right lung, said the operation had caught the cancer in its early stages. Doctors say further anti-cancer treatment would probably not be necessary.

Doctors also say Havel could be disconnected from the respirator within three to four days and that the tube which was introduced into the trachea to ease breathing last Friday could be removed within a week or ten days.