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Czech Republic: Envoy Sees No Threat To NATO Membership

Washington, 30 May 1997 (RFE/RL) - The Czech Republic's ambassador to the United States, Alexandr Vondra, says the current economic crisis in his country will not affect plans to join NATO.

He said in an RFE/RL interview that the economic problems are short-term and will not restrict the Czech Republic's ability to fund modernization of its armed forces and meet other requirements for joining NATO.

Vondra said in the interview yesterday Czech interest in becoming a NATO member is deep-rooted, long-lasting and a national goal.

"Integration with NATO is not at risk," he said.

Vondra also said he expected the currency difficulties to be resolved soon. He said there would be no formal currency devaluation and that the overvalued Czech crown would be allowed to float until market forces determined its proper level.

He said the crown may fluctuate a bit more but that its value has already declined about eight percent over the past week and is beginning to stabilize.