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Havel Compares Bush, Gorbachev

February 28, 1990

PRAGUE, Czechoslovakia (AP) _ President Vaclav Havel on Wednesday praised the frankness of his meetings with Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev and President Bush following visits to Washington and Moscow.

Havel also said he would travel to France and Britain on March 19 for talks with French President Francois Mitterrand and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

″I always felt Gorbachev was a bit of a dictator the way I saw him on television shouting at the Congress and making his little jokes,″ Havel said. ″In reality he is a very modest, shy and nice man who knows how to listen to you, and you don’t see that in politics very often. I liked him.″

Havel desribed Bush’s ideas as ″extremely interesting″ adding they had ″unusually many points of agreement″ during their talks in Washington.

Comparing the two visits, Havel said that although his U.S. trip was more hectic, ″the atmosphere was the same, the same mood of friendly welcome and surprise.″

Havel said his proposal that the two superpower leaders hold a summit meeting in Prague this year after they meet in Washington ″was received with great interest by both of them and they made an impression as if they would like it to take place in Prague.″

Also on Wednesday, the state CTK news agency reported that a former top Communist Party official suspected of asking Warsaw Pact troops to invade in 1968 has been charged with crimes punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Former Politburo member Vasil Bilak, accused of abuse of political power, was one of the party officials generally thought to have invited the five Soviet-led armies of the Warsaw Pact into Czechoslovakia in August 1968 to crush the ″Prague Spring″ reforms. Bilak has denied wrongdoing.

CTK said the federal prosecutor had asked his Czech counterpart - the country is made up of the Czech lands and Slovakia - to investigate the case.

″Prosecution proceedings on grounds of suspicion of abuse of power of a public official were already initiated,″ said the news agency.

Bilak, 72, is a veteran Communist hard-liner who retired before the peaceful revolution toppled Milos Jakes last year.

Bilak was expelled from the party on Dec. 21, and is one of two former top party officials being prosecuted. The other is Miroslav Stepan, in custody on identical charges.

The report did not say whether Bilak also was in custody.

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