published: 19.07.2012, 14:06 | updated: 19.07.2012 14:08:58
Prague - The division of Czechoslovakia was a necessary step, which was successful and helped all, which is quite clear now, 20 years later, Czech President Vaclav Klaus wrote in a letter of congratulations he sent to the then Slovak Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar on his 70th birthday.
Klaus, who was Czech prime minister before and after the Czechoslovak federation split on January 1, 1993 praised Meciar as a capable statesman and Slovak patriot.
"The immensely difficult cut we jointly accomplished 20 years ago has turned out to be inevitable and necessary. It helped us all," Klaus wrote in the letter published on his website www.klaus.cz.
The division of the country that was "dear to both of us and to most Czechs and Slovaks" took place at the difficult time of geopolitical changes and existential uncertainties, Klaus writes.
"After twenty years, both our countries are successful and stable in the European context. Even more important is that we still - maybe even more than before - remain the closest friends and allies," Klaus writes.
He says a big thank for the successful split of Czechoslovakia is due to Meciar.
"I knew you as a strong and resolute politician, a genuine Slovak patriot and also as a man who does not fear running a risk," Klaus writes.
He adds that Meciar was a prudent statesman who always kept his word.
Earlier this week, Slovakia marked the 20th anniversary of the national sovereignty declaration passed by the Slovak parliament, which started the process of Czechoslovakia´s split.
On the day the document was passed (July 17), Vaclav Havel announced his resignation as Czechoslovak president.
Leading Czech and Slovak politicians then agreed on the division of the federation as from end-1992.
The main architect of the sovereignty declaration was the then Slovak PM Meciar, whose Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) comfortably won the mid-1992 general election in Slovakia.
Meciar was viewed as a problematic politician by many in Slovakia and abroad in connection with his performance as PM in the 1990s. Critics said Meciar´s authoritarian tendencies endangered Slovakia´s entry into the Euro-Atlantic structures and drove the country into international isolation.
Nevertheless, Meciar´s supporters consider him a great personality and a founding father of independent Slovakia.
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