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Czech Prime Minister Backs Probe Into Alleged Murder Plot

Prague, 24 July 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Czech Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla said there must be a full investigation into an alleged plot to murder a journalist for which a former senior government official stands accused. Spidla said in a statement today that full support must be given to investigators in the case, which has cast a shadow over former Foreign Minister Jan Kavan, a member of Spidla's Social Democratic Party.

Kavan was recently elected president of the United Nations General Assembly.

On Monday, Czech police said they arrested Karel Srba, a former senior aide to Kavan, and three others on suspicion of plotting the murder of a Czech reporter who wrote articles that accused Srba of shady business dealings while in office in 2000, when Kavan was foreign minister.

Czech President Vaclav Havel yesterday suggested Kavan should relinguish some of the offices he holds in light of the scandal. His remarks were widely interpreted as referring to Kavan's UN post.

Kavan said it is absurd to link him with any actions by Srba and that he won't resign.