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Czech Republic: Havel Says Czechs Have A Duty To Support RFE/RL

Prague, 26 February 1999 (RFE/RL) -- Czech President Vaclav Havel today expressed support for continued broadcasts by RFE/RL from the Czech Republic.

Havel said it was the Czech Republic's duty to enable the message of freedom to continue to be heard in those countries where authoritative regimes or dictatorships remain and where citizens do not have access to objective information.

Havel made the remarks today during a visit to the Prague headquarters of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. The visit came about one week after security measures were tightened at RFE/RL in response to a report of a threat received by the U.S. Embassy in Prague.

Later today, Havel and Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski are due to sign accession documents in simultaneous ceremonies in Prague and Warsaw to allow their countries to join NATO.

Havel says by signing the ratification documents the Czech Republic will become "part of the democratic and free world." He says the work of international broadcast organizations such as RFE/RL, BBC and VOA contributed to this historic moment. The Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary will formally become members of NATO at a ceremony next month in the United States.