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U.S. Department of State

Great Seal Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Press Briefing On Plane En Route to Prague
March 5, 2000
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
Blue Line

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: The reason that I am going to the Czech Republic is at President Havel's invitation and events centered around the 150th anniversary of Tomas Masaryk's birth and he, as the first president of Czechoslovakia, the founder of Czechoslovakia, he embodies the principles that President Havel does and what one would hope for the Czech Republic generally, which is the understanding of democracy and freedom and tolerance and a sense of national identity that he created. So I was very glad to be able to go. He's somebody whose memory I grew up with, I always felt was somebody who looked like a president, acted like a president and thought like a president and was really a remarkable person. So I'm very, very glad to be able to go back and do that.

The other part of the trip is really to talk a lot about the various projects and programs that the U.S. is doing with the Czech Republic across the board in terms of programs to push the development of the judicial system and the rule of law, exchange programs, economic assistance programs. Across the board, a very full plate in terms of the kinds of things we're doing with the Czechs. That's the purpose.

QUESTION: Will Kosovo come up?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I'm sure.

QUESTION: What do you think of the situation there?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: First of all, I think that since the Czechs are a part of NATO, we'll be talking about KFOR and UNMIK and generally about how the whole Kosovo mission is going and I'm sure that it will come up. I will make it come up.

QUESTION: How do you think it's going?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I think clearly that there are many issues that need to be dealt with. I just spoke with Bernard Kouchner, who's on his way to New York to brief the Security Council. And one of the most important problems that he has, that the President and I have been working on, is the funding for UNMIK and also the attempt to get more police into the region. They're absolutely urgent. It's one of the subjects that we talked about at the U.S.-EU ministerial. Javier Solana was specifically spending a lot of time getting police for the Kosovo mission.

[End of Document]
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