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Slovaia Says Privatization Should Defend Strategic Interests

Prague, May 16 (RFE/RL) -- One of Slovakia's top officials in charge of privatization says his country does not want to blindly copy "Western experience" but instead wants to design a program that suits Slovakia's own goals.

Juraj Kerekes, administrative director of the Slovak privatization Ministry, said yesterday that attracting foreign capital is not a priority for Vladimir Meciar's government. Kerekes, speaking at a privatization conference in Prague, said Slovakia has three more important aims in privatization. The first is to "defend the interest of the state in strategically important enterprises." Kerekes said this includes the energy, arms manufacturing, insurance, pharmaceutical, forestry and water resources sectors. The second priority is to create a "participatory economy that will support domestic investment." The third priority is to allow employees to acquire shares in their own companies.

Kerekes said that only after these first conditions are fulfilled will efforts be made to attract foreign investment.