An international conference entitled “Europe – Whole and Free? Two Decades Since the End of the Warsaw Pact” opened in Prague on Monday, in Černín Palace, in the very same building where the Warsaw Treaty Organization was dissolved 20 years ago. Speakers hailed the non-violent demise of the Soviet-led military alliance which they said boosted security in Europe and helped unify the continent. The conference which is to last through Thursday is organized jointly by the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defence in cooperation with the non-governmental organization Opona. Among the distinguished guests present are the former president of Latvia Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, former German foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Malcolm Rifkind, former defence and foreign secretary of the United Kingdom and others. Former Czech president Václav Havel is not present due to health problems.