Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has set out for South Asia this week. Together with Industry Minister Marta Nováková and a delegation numbering dozens of Czech business representatives, the PM is visiting important economic hubs in the region. Expanding science, research, education and defence cooperation is also on the agenda.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš met with Singapore’s President Halimah
Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday at the start of a
two-day official visit to the Asian state. Mr. Babiš said he saw Singapore
as the centre of economic activity in Southeast Asia.
The Czech PM hopes to primarily discuss trade cooperation in the wider region as well as partnerships in science, research, education and defence. Accompanying the prime minister is a delegation including representatives of 42 Czech companies.
The visit is part of a larger tour that will see the Czech PM also travel to Thailand and India this week. Babiš says that Asia and Africa offer the Czech Republic the opportunity to diversify its exports beyond the European Union.
The Czech society has traditionally been quite homogenous. Of course, there have always been regional differences in dialect, culture, folk music. But people understand each other no matter which part of the country they come from, consider themselves to be of one nationality. And that has started changing.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš launched a bilateral Czech-Moroccan Business Forum in the city of Casablanca on Wednesday. In his speech, Mr. Babiš said that Morocco could become the Czech Republic’s largest trading partner on the African continent and that the two countries are currently discussing cooperation in the automobile, aircraft and armaments industries.
President Miloš Zeman on Thursday will formally receive the credentials of
four new ambassadors, from the Vatican City, Georgia, Latvia and Albania.
The ceremony will take place at Prague Castle.
The new apostolic nuncio to the Czech Republic is Charles Daniel Balvo, an American, who has already served at the Prague nunciature. He replaces Giuseppe Leanza, who has served as apostolic nuncio to the Czech Republic for the past seven years.
Georgia will be newly represented by Mariam Rakiašvili, who previously served as Deputy Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration. Latvia’s new ambassador, Gunta Pastore, previously served as a deputy in embassies in Denmark and Sweden.
The new Albanian ambassador to Prague is Ilirian Kuka, currently a counsellor of business affairs.
The downgrading of the status of several Czech embassies announced recently
does not reflect the importance ascribed to bilateral relations with the
given state, but was a move prompted by financial considerations, the Czech
Foreign Ministry said in a statement released on Friday.
The statement comes in reaction to criticism from President Miloš Zeman who said the decision to take away „top priority status“ from the Czech Embassy in Hungary and that in Italy was a serious mistake. He said he would apologize in person to the visiting Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and would push to get the decision reversed.
The ministry, which also downgraded the status of the Czech embassies in Ukraine and Turkey, said the status – or different categories – in which embassies were placed was only related to the salaries paid to diplomats in the given state.
On a state visit to Israel, Czech President Miloš Zeman on Monday addressed a special session of the country’s parliament, the Knesset – the first Czech politician ever to do so. Mr. Zeman highlighted the special relationship between the two countries and vowed to do everything in his power to ensure that the Czech Embassy be moved to Jerusalem.
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