Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek has denied claims that hackers who broke into email accounts at the Foreign Ministry over a period of several months had managed to gain access to classified information. At a press briefing in Prague on Thursday, Minister Zaorálek said that while the hackers had accessed information that could be sensitive for persons and institutions, such as from his own email account, they had not managed to break into any classified information accounts. The leak of these mails is unfortunate, but it is not a threat to national security, the minister stressed. The breach of security was announced on Tuesday and the media have since cited security sources as saying thousands of pieces of data – including classified information – had been gradually downloaded from the ministry’s email accounts.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has confirmed it will do everything in its power to help Petr Jašek, a Christian missionary who was arrested in Sudan in late 2015 and on Sunday was sentenced to 20 years in prison on spying and other charges. The ministry sees the case against the Czech as unfounded and said that it will work towards trying to secure his release.
Speaking at a conference in Prague to mark the 20th anniversary of the Czech-German declaration, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said that it had created confidence between the two countries in which solutions to current European problems could be found. Czech-German relations are now at their best level ever in history, Sobotka added. The Czech prime minister described the relationship, together with the Visegrad grouping with Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland, as a pillar for the stability and development of Central Europe. The declaration aimed to heal the wounds caused by the Nazi regime during and in the run up to World War II and the expulsion of Sudeten Germans from their homes after the war.
The Czech-German declaration, which was signed 20 years ago to the day, enabled the countries to cooperate and to look into the future, Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek told the Czech News Agency on Saturday. The significance of the declaration, in which the leaders of both countries pledged not to burden bilateral relations by controversial issues from the past, is still relevant today. Thanks to the agreement, Czech and Germans are not just neighbors, but also significant partners, Mr Zaorálek has said.
If you’re looking for a Czech who probably has a good take on what the Donald Trump presidency has in store it’s the director of president Miloš Zeman’s foreign affairs office, Hynek Kmoníček. He took up that post after stints as Czech ambassador to India, Australia, and the United Nations. And Kmoníček is the hot tip to become the next Czech ambassador in Washington, likely taking up the post within a few weeks. I asked him first of all what the Trump presidency priorities would be.
The US Ambassador to Prague, Mr. Andrew Schapiro, is leaving office on Friday. Ambassador Schapiro, who is not a career diplomat, was appointed to the post by the outgoing US president Barack Obama. He has served in the post since September 2014. Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek recently said he feared that it might take some time to find a replacement. There has been speculation that the incoming US president Donald Trump’s Czech-born ex-wife Ivana has expressed an interest in the position.
President Zeman’s open support for the incoming US president Donald Trump, could smooth early interaction with the Trump administration, President Zeman’s chief foreign policy advisor, and the man slated to be the next Czech ambassador to the US, Hynek Kmoníček, told Radio Prague. Mr. Kmoníček said he expected a strong focus on domestic policy from the new US administration and and predicted unexpected moves from the incoming US president who as a self-made man was used to making his own decisions and was not likely to pay great heed to advisers. Czech President Milos Zeman, who openly supported Donald Trump during his election campaign, has received an invitation to the White House in April.
Andrew Schapiro, whose mother was born in the city, has been one of the most visible US ambassadors to Prague in recent decades. Since his appointment in September 2014 the diplomat has pursued a distinctly liberal agenda, and notably fell afoul of President Zeman, who said he was unwelcome at Prague Castle.
Twenty years ago the Czech Republic and Germany signed a joint declaration pledging not to burden bilateral relations with controversial issues from the past so as to enable the neighbouring states to look forward and fully develop the existing potential for cooperation. How far have they come along that road, what divides them today and how do Czechs and Germans view each other? To find out I spoke to Tomas Kafka, from the Department for Central Europe at the Czech Foreign Ministry, and first asked him to assess how successful the Czech-German
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