Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Tomáš Petříček is due to visit Washington this month to discuss a bilateral and global issues with the U.S. secretaries of state and defence, and President Trump’s national security advisor. Cybersecurity issues – not least concerning Chinese telecoms giant Huawei – are high on the Czech agenda. So too is securing an invitation to the White House.
During a trip to Washington, the Czech foreign minister, Tomáš
Petříček, will discuss the possibility of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš
meeting President Donald Trump at the White House, Hospodářské noviny
reported on Thursday. Mr. Petříček will raise the matter with his US
counterpart, Mike Pompeo, in late February.
Mr. Petříček told Hospodářské noviny that the Czech authorities’ stance toward Chinese telecoms giant Huawei had helped to bring about the possible meeting with Mr. Trump, which is mooted for this spring.
Organisations crucial to the running of the Czech state have been ordered to review their use of Huawei products in view of a potential security risk. The US authorities have accused the Chinese firm of the theft of technology and other crimes.
The Václav Havel Library in Prague follows the US presidential library model in gathering and archiving materials relating to the late Czech dissident turned head of state. In the US, Havel’s legacy is promoted by sister organisation the Václav Havel Library Foundation, which is based at the Bohemian National Hall in New York. The latter is headed by Pavla Niklová, a former director of the city’s Czech Center. When we met, Niklová explained the relationship between the foundation and the library itself.
When I visited New York in September I heard nothing but praise for the work of the city’s Czech Center in recent years. Much of the credit for this belongs to Barbara Karpetová, its tireless director, whose tenure is now coming to a close. The Czech Center is located in the magnificent Bohemian National Hall on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. When we spoke at its well-stocked, stylish library, I asked Karpetová who the institution’s visitors tended to be.
US President Donald Trump and his then-wife Ivana were the target of an
extensive spying operation conducted by Czechoslovakia’s communist secret
service, (StB) together with “friends” from the KGB, The Guardian
reported in its Monday edition.
According to The Guardian, the StB first opened a file on Trump following his marriage in 1977 to his first wife, Ivana Zelníčková. The operation was run out of Zlín, the provincial town in south-west Czechoslovakia where Zelníčková was born and grew up. Ivana’s father Miloš regularly gave the StB information about his daughter’s visits from the US and on his celebrity son-in-law’s career in New York. Zelníček was classified as a “conspiratorial” informer. His relationship with the StB reportedly lasted until the end of the communist regime.
The StB’s interest in Donald and Ivana intensified in the late 1980s, after Trump let it be known he was thinking of running for president, The Guardian wrote.
Having served as US secretary of state from 1997 to 2001, Madeleine Albright ranks as one of the most accomplished of all Czech-Americans. I got to speak to the Prague-born politician recently when she was special guest at the Reality Czech evening in New York, organised by the Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association and the Václav Havel Library Foundation to mark the centenary of the founding of Czechoslovakia. Our conversation eventually turned to that landmark anniversary – but it began with Secretary Albright’s recently published book Fascism:
Václav Havel has just received a major honour, with the unveiling of a bronze bust of the late dissident turned president at Columbia University in New York. Speaking at the ceremony, Havel’s friend Madeleine Albright said he would have been alarmed at some aspects of today’s world – but would not have succumbed to despair.
A number of Czech politicians have paid tribute to US Senator John McCain,
a Vietnam veteran and former presidential candidate, who died on Saturday
from brain cancer at the age of 81.
In various statements, political leaders described the outspoken Republican as role model, freedom fighter and defender of democracy. Civic Democrat (ODS) chairman Petr Fiala described him as a brave man and friend of the Czech Republic while Top 09 party chairman Miroslav Kalousek described him as a principled leader admired around the world.
McCain will be missed not only by Americans, said the head of the foreign policy section of the presidential chancellery, Rudolf Jindrák.