Czech organization apologizes to Serbs for Havel's statement

CESKE BUDEJOVICE, Jul 19, 2000 -- (BBC) The Ceske Budejovice Association of Friends of Slavonic Cultures and Languages has apologized to Serbs for President Vaclav Havel's statement on the need to "demonstrate force" in solving the former Yugoslavia problems made in Dubrovnik last week.

Association's Chairman Frantisek Krejca told CTK today that a letter entitled "Serbs, forgive us!" had been sent to the Yugoslav news agency Tanjug and the editorial office of the Serbian daily `Vesti'.

"Every time we, Czechs, are in trouble, you, Serbs, helped us. We are ashamed that at the time which is so difficult for the Serbian people the Czech Republic's highest representative makes statements which are far beyond the border of morals and common sense. We apologize to you on behalf of all decent and honest Czechs who share the feelings of shame and indignation with us. Serbs, forgive us! Forgive us and don't blame the whole Czech people for Vaclav Havel's statements," Krejca quoted the letter as saying.

The authors of the letter describe Havel as a false prophet of truth and love who is the author of the term "humanitarian bombing". "Now missiles and bombs are again to fall on your country and again people should die in Serbia according to the wish of the Czech Republic's president," the letter says.

The Association of Friends of Slavonic Cultures and Languages based in Ceske Budejovice was registered at the Interior Ministry on 21st February 2000. It orientates its activity on organizing humanitarian aid to Serbian refugees in camps on the territory of the former Yugoslavia.

Source: CTK news agency, Prague, in English 0733 GMT 19 Jul 00.

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