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President visits Prague for anniversary

PRESIDENT Ivan Gašparovič went to Prague on October 27 to mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia. The president and his Czech counterpart, Václav Klaus, laid wreaths at the memorial to the first Czechoslovak president, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk.

PRESIDENT Ivan Gašparovič went to Prague on October 27 to mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia. The president and his Czech counterpart, Václav Klaus, laid wreaths at the memorial to the first Czechoslovak president, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk.

Some Slovak towns and cities celebrated the event on October 28, the official anniversary of the founding, but neither the Slovak Cabinet Office nor parliament officially marked it. Unlike in the Czech Republic, October 28 is not a state holiday in Slovakia.

Some top Slovak representatives did mark an anniversary while in Martin on October 30, though. It was there that the Declaration of the Slovak Nation, now known as the Martin Declaration, was signed on October 30, 1918.

The Declaration expressed Slovaks’ approval of creating a joint state.

Prime Minister Robert Fico marked the anniversary on October 28 by toasting Michal Král, the Czech ambassador to Vietnam, during his official visit in Hanoi.

Pavol Paška, the Speaker of Parliament, delivered a brief speech in parliament on October 28. He underscored the exemplary relations the country shares with the Czech Republic, adding his hopes that one day such relations will also exist between Slovakia and Hungary. He said a great achievement of the creation of the Czechoslovak Republic was that it helped Slovaks free themselves from the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy, which has led to excellent relations with the Czech nation.
On October 28, about 300 mostly elderly people gathered at the memorial of the first Czechoslovak Republic in Bratislava.

A recent survey showed that 44 percent of Slovaks know that the Czechoslovak Republic was established on October 28, 1918. In the Czech Republic, it is 70 percent, the Sme daily wrote.

The first Czechoslovak Republic survived for just 20 years. It was brought to an abrupt end by the Munich Agreement of September 1938, which was followed six months later by Nazi occupation of the Czech lands and the establishment of a fascist state in Slovakia. The Czechoslovak Republic was then reunified after the end of World War II. The federal state split into the Czech and Slovak Republics in 1993.

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