Czech party bloc angered by Stoiber's comments

17th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

17 May 2005, PRAGUE - The largest political bloc in the Czech parliament on Tuesday angrily reproved a German opposition leader for comments about the post-World War Two expulsion of millions of Germans from the Sudeten area of the former Czechoslovakia.

17 May 2005

PRAGUE - The largest political bloc in the Czech parliament on Tuesday angrily reproved a German opposition leader for comments about the post-World War Two expulsion of millions of Germans from the Sudeten area of the former Czechoslovakia.

The statement from the Social Democrats (CSSD) parliament club also called on Czech foreign minister Cyril Svoboda to formally respond to Edmund Stoiber, the Bavarian premier and CSU party leader who called the 1946 expulsion an "ethnic cleansing".

"Such damaging expressions are unacceptable to us (and) are in variance with the Czech-German declaration from the year 1997, which significantly contributed to good Czech-German relations," said the club's statement, according to CSSD spokeswoman Lucie Balounova.

CSSD deputies "reject the tone and the words" used by Stoiber, who spoke last weekend at a Sudeten convention in Augsburg, Germany.

The statement was released just as Czech prime minister Jiri Paroubek, of the CSSD, hosted talks on Tuesday with German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

The two leaders met at a former Nazi concentration camp in Terezin, north of Prague. It was their first meeting since Paroubek's appointment last month.

Nearly two years ago Schroeder said the Sudeten controversy was no longer a thorn in Czech-German relations.

Since 1997, the Czech Republic has expressed regret that innocent people were hurt when up to three million Germans and others were forced out of the country.

But according to Stoiber, Paroubek's government revived the controversy by dedicating a statue honouring former Czech president Edvard Benes, whose decrees triggered the expulsions and property seizures.

Czechs see Benes as a national hero, and consider the Sudeten decision justified in light of the wartime Nazi occupation of their country.

Paroubek attended the dedication after criticising Stoiber for what he called meddling in Czech domestic affairs.

DPA

Subject: German news

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