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Czech Republic: Defense Minister Submits Resignation Over Spending Cuts

Prague, 29 May 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Czech Defense Minister Jaroslav Tvrdik today submitted his resignation over planned cuts to military spending. Tvrdik told a news conference he handed his resignation to Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla, who agreed with the move. Under Czech law, only the president can officially accept a minister's resignation.

Tvrdik had planned military reforms to bring the armed forces up to NATO standards. But many of the reforms depend on the government spending some 2.2 percent of GDP on the military. The government, however, has cut military spending as part of reforms needed to reduce the public-finance deficit.

Tvrdik said he fully supported reforming public finances, but the cuts would impede defense reforms and he would ultimately be answerable for this.