The Czech Centres in London and New York are getting new directors this spring, with Přemysl Pela assuming control in the UK capital and Miroslav Konvalina taking the helm in the Big Apple. We spoke to both before their departure for the key branches of the Czech Republic’s cultural diplomacy network in the English-speaking world.
President Miloš Zeman is in China for another working visit, along with a trade delegation hoping to carve out slices of the world’s biggest market. Topping his public agenda is the “Belt and Road” summit on Beijing’s trillion-dollar project to boost trade and build infrastructure across Asia, Europe and Africa. In private, though, President Zeman’s talks are likely to centre on the low level of actual Chinese investment after five years of fanfare.
President Miloš Zeman has welcomed this week’s Constitutional Court ruling striking down a March 2018 order to extradite suspected Russian hacker Yevgeniy Nikulin to the United States. In a televised interview on Thursday, Mr Zeman said he warned former justice minister Robert Pelikán that the move was illegal – and accused him of being an American lackey.
Pressure is mounting for Prime Minister Andrej Babiš to recall Trade and Industry Minister Marta Nováková over a diplomatic incident that has highlighted China’s efforts to assert its influence in the Czech Republic. The revelation that a representative of Taiwan had been forced to leave a diplomatic meeting at the trade ministry at the request of the Chinese ambassador has sparked widespread criticism from politicians across-the-board.
Czech companies doing business in high-risk markets will now be able to apply for up to CZK 25 million in funding thanks to a new foreign ministry scheme unveiled on Tuesday. It says the plan is the first of its kind in Central Europe and follows the EU’s shift in focus from foreign aid to investment.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has summoned Russia’s ambassador for talks
over the news that apartments for Russian diplomats are reportedly being
rented to third parties in Prague.
The ambassador was summoned following reports in the Czech media that thousands of apartments intended for diplomatic personnel were being leased to third party tenants, which is in violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova previously said that the reports were based on local sources that “distort the truth.”
Czech President Miloš Zeman will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin
again at the end of next month, Seznam Zprávy reported. The two leaders
are expected to hold informal talks while both are in the Chinese capital
Beijing. Mr. Zeman will be in China between April 23 and 28 on what will be
his fifth visit to the country as Czech head of state.
The Czech president has cultivated warm relations with Moscow and Beijing since his election six years ago.
Czechs are looking back at 20 years in NATO. Their country joined the Alliance together with Hungary and Poland on March 12, 1999. Since then NATO has grown significantly and undertaken several major international military operations. Vít Pohanka highlights the most important developments in the Alliance over that time and how the Czech Republic participated in them.
At a ceremony marking the Czech Republic’s entry to NATO twenty years ago, Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček handed out medals of merit to 14 people who assisted the country in preparing for membership and meeting its new obligations. The laureates included key players on the international scene at the time as well as Czech diplomats and military officials who worked hard to make it happen.
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