Former Czech president Havel opens Forum 2000 amid protest
Former Czech president Vaclav Havel have opened the annual Forum 2000 while proponents of Serbia demonstrated against the presence of Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga at the event outside the building where the conference is held.
(KosovoCompromise Staff) Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Havel spoke about the importance of exchange of views and listening to various positions of people from various areas.
He said Forum 2000 was an interesting experience.
Several tens of opponents of independent Kosovo met outside the building where the conference is taking place.
The rally against the youngest European state was called by opposition Social Democrat (CSSD) deputy Jaroslav Foldyna who is partly of Serb extraction.
"International resolutions, human rights are violated in Kosovo," Vaclav Dvorak, a participant in the protest, said.
"Serbs are being expelled from there," Dvorak said.
The demonstrators were waving a large Serb flag and banners highlighting organised crime in Kosovo.
Czech President Vaclav Klaus is among the opponents of independent Kosovo. He has also refused to send a Czech diplomat to the post of ambassador there.
The Czech Republic recognised Kosovo after it was declared in 2008.
To voice his disagreement, Klaus invited the ambassador of Serbia to his seat at Prague Castle, thus making clear his support to Serbia's cause.
If a foreign head of state pays a private or semi-working visit to the Czech Republic, it is not unusual that it is received by the Czech head of state.
However, Klaus does not seem to be scheduled to meet Jahjaga.
Neither does Klaus's webpage mention any meeting with President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili who will also visit the conference.
The Forum 2000 conference, organised by the Forum 2000 Foundation, was held for the first time in 1997 under Havel's aegis.
This year, it will focus on the rule of law, corruption and Russia. The speakers are to include Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel, Russian opposition representatives and some former heads of state.