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Letoo - 2000

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In interest of fair play: Who is B. Kouchner?
or "former" communista v. "former" communist - press here
UN envoy Bernard Kouchner:
Shut up, Mr. Dienstbier

But he (Dienstbier) did not "shut up" and continues to talk. click here to go to his latest

During Monday's press conference, Bernard Kouchner, the United Nations top envoy and chief of the civilian government in Kosovo (UNMIK), bitterly denounced another senior UN official for sharp criticizing his running civilian government in Serbian province. He became so excited that he lost his diplomatic coolness and openly told him off to "shut up, Mr. Dienstbier".

Kouchner, speaking at this news conference celebrating the first anniversary of UN civilian administration of Kosovo declared that he would refuse to deal with Jiri Dienstbier, a former first after-November foreign minister of Czechoslovakia who is now a UN human rights investigator in former Yugoslavia.

Extending his anger, Kouchner added "Not only will I not receive this person, but . . . [not] Vaclav Havel either." It is a general knowledge that president Havel [and his family] is long time friend of Dienstbier [and allegedly got his UN position under Havel's influence], but Czech president on two occasions, speaking for himself last month [May] strongly defended the UN role.

Visibly furious, Kouchner pointed out that Dienstbier had visited Kosovo for only two days in March and now is trying "to tell the truth to the rest of the world. This is not only unfair, it is a shame." Answering a question that some UN officials are accusing him that he had allowed extremists to operate in Kosovo with impunity, former French health minister pointed out in English "Do you believe that I am in favor of killing?" and with emotion continued "I devoted my life, thirty years, to fight for human rights and Mr. Dienstbier ... knows the truth?"

Yesterday, Mr. Kouchner sent a letter to Czech President regretting that he mixed Mr. Havel into this affair.

Mr. Dienstbier, a former member of Communist party served as a propagandist during the Cold War as a reporter in Washington for the Bolshevik radio. He continued even after the "Dubcek's spring" till 1969 when he was recalled back to Prague and only then became a "dissident". As a foreign Minister of the CSFR in 1990 he nominated another hard communist Rita Klimova/Mlynarova as a Czech Ambassador in Washington and other "former" comrades as ambassadors to other nations (Canada, Russia, etc). He stands up against Czech political refugees escaping after communist putsch in 1948 declaring that "nobody needed to escape".

Even today, Jiri Dienstbier is still registered in Washington as a hostile journalist.

A few months ago (11/8/99), Mr. Dienstbier appeared at the Columbia University in New York where he skipped our question as that he misunderstood it: "Now, when the communists are a major party in the Czech Republic, do you intend to return back to them?" By his unfounded criticism of the UN role in Kosovo (even when sober), it seams that Mr. Dienstbier is returning to the same role he played before 1969.

Josef Schrabal

Radio Prague June 22, 2000:


The United Nations' human rights investigator for former Yugoslavia Jiri Dienstbier says that Belgrade's crackdown on dissent could breed an explosive situation with grim consequences. However, Mr. Dienstbier, a former Czechoslovak foreign minister, also warned that in Kosovo, one ethnic-cleansing campaign has been replaced by another, aimed against ethnic Serbs this time.

He said in Belgrade on Wednesday that the events in Kosovo far exceeded the limits of understandable revenge of Albanians for Serb-incurred atrocities. He described the current anti-Serb drive in Kosovo as a well-organised campaign, and warned that Albanian extremists could destabilise the Balkans.

Mr. Dienstbier was recently attacked by the UN's civilian administrator of Kosovo Bernard Kouchner. Dienstbier's record was also questioned by Czech President Vaclav Havel.

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