NEWS BRIEFS

MPs happy with Bush visit

POLITICIANS have lauded US President George Bush's trip to Slovakia at the end of February. They agreed that it was made in recognition of the country's efforts to strengthen democracy and the rule of law, according to the TASR news agency.

Speaker of Parliament Pavol Hrušovský praised Bush for reminding the public how the seeds of democracy were sown by the 1988 demonstration in Hviezdoslavovo square. The protest led to the jailing of the Christian Democrat leader Ján Čarnogurský.

"I personally hold in great esteem that section of Bush's speech which I see referred to myself and religious believers who had been laying the future foundations of freedom back under the Communist regime, when others were afraid to do so," said Hrušovský.

Deputy Speaker of Parliament Béla Bugár also gave high value to the event. He praised Bush for drawing the attention of the young generation to history, as they no longer know anything about totalitarianism and dictatorship.

"It is as if he left the message that we should not forget to tell people what it is to have freedom, how precious it is and that freedom must be further defended," said Bugár.

Viliam Veteška, the second deputy speaker of parliament, and an MP for the opposition HZDS, was pleasantly surprised to hear Bush referring to the candle-lit demonstration that led to the revolutionary changes in 1989. Veteška was also pleased to hear Bush pledge to try and have the US visa requirements for Slovaks changed in Congress.

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