INTRODUCTION: As the Polish crisis continues the country's government has moved to reassert its authority with parliament resolving to outlaw strikes for two months.
GVs Czechoslovakia Communist Party Congress in Prague. (2 SHOTS)
SV Soviet President Brezhnev addressing Congress. (3 SHOTS)
SV Polish Prime Minister Jaruzelski speaking. (3 SHOTS)
GV Audience listening to Party leader Kania speaking at Lenin shipyard. (2 SHOTS)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: As the Polish crisis continues the country's government has moved to reassert its authority with parliament resolving to outlaw strikes for two months. Meanwhile, Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev told the Czechoslovakian Communist Party in Prague that the Communist bloc countries faced no greater challenge in the next decade than overcoming economic problems.
SYNOPSIS: Mr. Brezhnev was addressing the Czechoslovak-Soviet meeting at Prague Castle. The meeting, with one eye on Poland, opted for stability re-electing the entire leadership. The 16th Party Congress closed after the party's 123-member central committee reconfirmed the previous leaders, headed by First Secretary Gustav Husak.
Mr. Brezhnev warned his communist allies that economic problems would present the greatest challenge to the Soviet bloc in the 1980s. He said all the communist bloc would have to increase its productivity and improve its economic management. He avoided mentioning Poland but his message was clear: that the Soviet bloc had to improve its economic performance. The 74-year-old Soviet leader had earlier taken the heat out of the Polish crisis by saying Poles could solve their own problems.
Meanwhile, Polish Prime Minister Wojciech Jaruzelski, in a nationally televised session of the SEJM (Parliament) called for a strike ban for two months. Mr. Jaruzelski threatened to resign if this and other emergency measures were turned fown. But the fierce trade union Solidarity called the move incomprehensible and unjustified and warned of future strikes if the ban was enforced.
Polish Communist Party leader Stanislaw Kania was subjected to a barrage of criticism from workers at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk. They were angry at the authorities alleged slowness in implementing reforms. Mr. Kahla said he had filled a whole notebook with the worker's critical observations addressed to the central committee. He added party organisations must draw conclusions from the criticism. Representatives of Poland's 15 major western creditors have agreed they stood a good chance of re-scheduling part of Poland's huge debts by the end of April. They are estimated at more than 25 billion dollars.