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Czech Republic: German President Calls Havel 'Europe's Mentor'

Prague, 29 April 1997 (RFE/RL) - German President Roman Herzog today praised Czech President Vaclav Havel as "Europe's mentor."

He made the remark in 45-minute speech to a joint session of the Czech Parliament and government at Prague Castle.

Herzog described Havel as a "spiritual pioneer" in overcoming the Cold War division of Europe and helping to overcome the division of Germany.

Herzog thanked Havel for having upheld the ideals of the 1968 Prague Spring liberalization era and for having led the peaceful revolution of 1989 that ended Communist rule in Czechoslovakia.

Herzog says Germany wholeheartedly supports Czech membership in NATO and the European Union.

The German president told Czech lawmakers it is now up to west Europeans to accept the decision of central and east Europeans to rejoin Europe.

"Europe remains incomplete as long as Prague, Budapest and Warsaw do not belong to it," he said.

Quoting Havel that "if the West does not stabilize the East, the East will destabilize the West," Herzog says uniting Europe is not a romantic dream but absolutely necessary.