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Italian Communists Call for Rehabilitation of Dubcek

November 17, 1988

ROME (AP) _ Italy’s Communist Party today called for the political rehabilitation of Alexander Dubcek, the former Czechoslovak Communist Party leader ousted after the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of his country.

″Restore political honor to Alexander Dubcek,″ Italian party leader Achille Occhetto said at a news conference following a two-hour meeting with Dubcek, who is in Italy on his first trip abroad in 18 years.

Occheto called rehabilitation ″a necessary step if you want to reclose the wound opened 20 years ago.″

Occhetto said the Italian Communists would raise the matter with the Czechoslovak and Soviet Communist parties, but did not say when.

Dubcek introduced measures to liberalize Czechoslovakia’s politics and economy in the 1968 ″Prague Spring,″ which was crushed by the Warsaw Pact invasion.

Dubcek traveled to Italy to receive an honorary degree at the University of Bologna last weekend.

″When I received the honorary degree, I could not forget all the friends and comrades who, along with me, gave life to the political season of ’68,″ Dubcek told the news conference. ″Everything that is taking place, here also, is a moral support for everything that was done in those days.″

Dubcek and Occhetto discussed the liberalizing policies of Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev during their meeting at a Communist Party institute in Rome, Occhetto said.

Italy’s Communist Party, the largest in the West, condemned the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and has broken with Moscow.

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