Prime Minister and ANO leader Andrej Babiš is scheduled to visit Slovakia
on January 5, ahead of the confidence vote on his minority cabinet in the
Chamber of Deputies, the Czech News Agency reported on Friday.
Later in January, the Prime Minister will visit Bulgaria, which is going to preside over the European Union as of January next year.
Mr Babiš is also negotiating with the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and wants to meet with the political leaders from Austria, which will take over the EU presidency in July next year.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has said he does not agree with the idea that
the Czech Embassy in Tel Aviv could be moved to Jerusalem. President Miloš
Zeman brought up the possibility after expressing backing for US President
Donald Trump who officially recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital this
Prime Minister Babiš told Czech Radio’s flagship station Radiožurnál that it was important not to create new conflicts in the Middle East, saying that the Czech Republic was a “small country which should try and work for peace”.
Czech President Milos Zeman has defended US President Donald Trump’s
decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the US
embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. President Zeman said EU member states
should follow the US example.
Meanwhile, the Czech political scene is divided on the issue. The right-wing Civic Democrats and the SPD welcomed Trump’s decision, while TOP 09 took a reserved stance and the Communist Party sharply criticized the move.
The Czech Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying it considers Jerusalem the future capital of both Israel and the future state of Palestine, in line with EU policy. It said Prague would not transfer its embassy to Jerusalem without discussing the issue with its partners in the EU.
The new US ambassador to the Czech Republic, Stephen King, has offered his
credentials to the Czech president Miloš Zeman and may now officially
assume his duties. Mr King, a rich Republican businessman with no previous
diplomatic experience, met with the Czech head of state at Prague Castle on
Stephen King, who is 75, worked for the FBI early in his career and was an investigator for the US Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. According to US media reports, King is personally connected with some close advisors to US president Donald Trump.
The president on Wednesday accepted credentials of another three newly appointed ambassadors. The diplomats are from Tunisia, Malaysia and Lebanon.
ANO leader Andrej Babiš, who is forming the country’s next government,
told the news site novinky.cz he himself would be primarily responsible for
moulding the country’s foreign policy.
Babiš confirmed that Martin Stropnický, the outgoing minister of
defense, and a former career diplomat would head the ministry of foreign
affairs, but indicated that he wanted to keep a firm hand on the
country’s foreign policy.
He said he had asked President Zeman to appoint his minority government to office on December 13th, so that he could travel to Brussels for the next EU summit of heads of government. The Czech Republic must be more active within the EU and come up with solutions, Babiš said.
Czech president Miloš Zeman is due Wednesday to accept the credentials of
proposed US ambassador to the Czech Republic Steve King. The news was
confirmed by the president’s spokesman.
King, a rich businessman and Republican supporter with no diplomatic experience has been in Prague since the start of November. Acceptance of his credentials will mean he can officially start in the post.
King is, according to US media reports, not that personally connected with US president Donald Trump but rather to some of his close advisors.
Moscow has issued a sharp protest over the vandalizing of a statue of
Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev in Prague which was spray painted with the dates
1956, 1961, 1968 and 2017 earlier this week. The Russian Foreign Ministry
denounced the act as vandalism and an insult to those who had laid down
their lives in the liberation of Czechoslovakia.
The incident happened shortly after an offensive article appeared on a Russian web which said the Czech Republic should be grateful for the 1968 Soviet-led invasion which had brought the country 20 years of peace and stability. On a state visit to Russia, President Zeman protested against the insult to his country and Russian Prime Minister Medvedev publicly distanced himself from the article.
Marshal Konev is perceived as a controversial figure in the Czech Republic. After being present on several fronts in WWII, Konev was involved in the suppression of the Hungarian uprising in 1956 and was also present in Berlin for the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961.