IN SHORT

Havel bids farewell to Slovakia

CZECH president Václav Havel visited Slovakia on the symbolic last stop of his farewell tour of foreign nations, meeting Slovak President Rudolf Schuster, PM Mikuláš Dzurinda, as well as personal friends in a wine cellar.

"When he became the head of state in 1990, President Havel's first trip abroad was to Germany, at the time our largest and most significant neighbour. When he leaves office after 13 years, he will once again go abroad to our closest neighbour, which over time has become Slovakia. So in a way it's natural that he wraps up his [term in office] in Slovakia," the Czech president's spokesperson told the TASR news agency before the president arrived.

"The trip is symbolic also in that shortly after arrival the president will pay homage to the memory of statesman and politician Alexander Dubček by laying flowers at his grave in Slávíčie údolie. During the Velvet Revolution in 1989, Havel experienced his most dramatic moments with Dubček in Prague," the spokesman said.

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