News



DATE=4/15/98
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-229671
TITLE=CZECH / NATO (L)
BYLINE=ART CHIMES
DATELINE=PRAGUE
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO:  THE CZECH PARLIAMENT HAS VOTED TO APPROVE THE COUNTRY'S 
ENTRY INTO NATO -- THE FIRST OF THE THREE CANDIDATE COUNTRIES TO 
DO SO.  CENTRAL EUROPE CORRESPONDENT ART CHIMES REPORTS FROM 
PRAGUE

TEXT:  LAWMAKERS IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC'S LOWER HOUSE, THE CHAMBER
OF DEPUTIES, OVERWHELMINGLY VOTED TO ACCEPT AN INVITATION TO JOIN
THE NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION IN 1999.  

          ///  ANNOUNCEMENT OF RESULTS - IN CZECH  ///

THE VOTE WAS 154 IN FAVOR, 38 AGAINST.

ALL MAINSTREAM PARTIES SUPPORTED THE MEASURE, WITH ONLY THE 
COMMUNISTS AND RIGHT-WING REPUBLICAN PARTY AGAINST IT.  THE 
LEFT-OF-CENTER SOCIAL DEMOCRATS VOTED TO ACCEPT THE TREATY, BUT 
JUST BEFORE THE VOTE THEIR LEADER, MILOS ZEMAN, SAID THE MATTER 
SHOULD HAVE BEEN PUT BEFORE THE CZECH PUBLIC IN A REFERENDUM.  

OPINION SURVEYS INDICATE ABOUT 60-PERCENT OF THE CZECH PEOPLE ARE
IN FAVOR OF NATO MEMBERSHIP -- CONSIDERABLY LESS THAN PUBLIC 
SUPPORT IN POLAND AND HUNGARY, THE TWO OTHER FORMERLY-COMMUNIST 
COUNTRIES THAT HAVE BEEN INVITED TO JOIN.

THROUGHOUT CENTRAL EUROPE DEBATES ABOUT NATO EXPANSION ARE 
SIMILAR.  SUPPORTERS CITE THE ONGOING NEED FOR EUROPEAN SECURITY 
AND THE NEED TO BE PART OF EUROPEAN INSTITUTIONS -- INCLUDING 
NATO AND THE EUROPEAN UNION.  OPPONENTS SAY IT WILL COST TOO 
MUCH, AND SAY WITH THE COLD WAR OVER, AN EXPANDED NATO IS A 
NEEDLESS PROVOCATION TO MOSCOW.  

NATO ENLARGEMENT ALSO MUST BE APPROVED BY ALL 16 CURRENT MEMBERS.
SEVERAL HAVE DONE SO.  A VOTE IN THE U-S SENATE IS EXPECTED LATER
THIS MONTH.   (SIGNED)

NEB/ART/JWH/RAE

15-Apr-98 7:02 AM EDT (1102 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
.