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February 07, 1992 - Image 57

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-02-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

11

"'" NEWS I

WANTE

WE HAVE A

REPUTATION

Tanks To Syria
For Last Time

Prague (JTA) — President
Vaclav Havel warned his
countrymen that the con-
tinued export of heavy
weapons to countries like
Syria poses a serious danger
to Czechoslovakia.
But his remarks, while
they may have pleased
Israel and its supporters,
brought Mr. Havel closer to
a showdown with Slovak na-
tionalists advocating a
separate state.
Mr. Havel was referring to
the shipment of 250 T-72
tanks to Syria despite
earlier promises by Czech
leaders that such exports
would stop. "I am not pleas-
ed with our deliveries of
tanks to Syria at all," he
declared in a radio address.
"We have been assured
that the present deliveries
are the last ones," he added,
referring to the former
Soviet model tanks
manufactured at industrial
plants in Slovakia.
According to Mr. Havel,
toying with the idea of ex-
porting heavy armaments to
areas of tension or to states
supporting terrorism en-
dangers Czechoslovakia's
political and economic inter-
ests and jeopardizes its
future.
There are lobbies, he said,
that are exerting pressure to
continue arms shipments
and their activities imperil
Czechoslovakia's position in
the world. "Should any fur-
ther contract bypassing
legal procedures come to my
ears, the matter would
receive very serious con-
sideration, and political con-
sequences would be drawn,"
Mr. Havel warned.
Israel has repeatedly pro-
tested the resumption of
Czechoslovak tank
deliveries to Syria, which
were temporarily suspended
for the opening of the Middle
East peace talks in Madrid
last October.
But Slovak politicians and
economists argue that con-
tinued arms exports are
essential to stem poverty
and rising unemployment in
the Slovak half of the
Czechoslovak federation.
They point out that other
countries export arms and
could easily fill the orders
that might have gone to
Slovak factories.
The arms export issue is
one of several threatening
the cohesion of
Czechoslovakia. Slovak na-
tionalists last week suc-
cessfully blocked constitu-
tional bills sponsored by
Havel.

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23 2 2 5 WOODWARD • FERNDALE

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

57

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