Czech foreign minister Lubomír Zaorálek has warned that Prague will take ‘resolute’ action if it is proved that the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad was responsible for a chemical weapons attack that killed 100 and injured 400 on Tuesday. Zaorálek said that the withdrawal of Prague’s ambassador in Damascus was one option that could be taken. It is the last EU embassy still operating in the Syrian capital. The foreign minister was speaking in the sidelines of a conference in Brussels over aid to Syria. He added that a United Nations investigation should determine who was responsible for the attack. Both the Syrian government and ally, Russia, have denied responsibility. Their suggestions that the rebels were responsible have been widely dismissed.
The Czech minister of foreign affairs, Lubomír Zaorálek, says he will discuss a court ruling in the UK relating to the death of a Czech citizen with his British counterpart, Boris Johnson, on Wednesday. Earlier he summoned the British ambassador to Prague, Jan Thompson, to discuss the matter. Mr. Zaorálek said he had major doubts regarding the acquittal of a British man who had been accused of beating Czech Zdeněk Makar to death with a bicycle lock in a street attack last September.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with the heads of government of the Czech Republic and Slovakia in Berlin on Monday to mark a quarter of a century since the signing of a milestone treaty on goodneighbourly relations. However the successes of past years were overshadowed by the challenges of the present: the migrant crisis, Brexit and the controversial German road toll.
In the first quarter of 2017, the Czech consulate in Lvov, Ukraine received almost 4,000 applications from Ukrainians looking to work in the Czech Republic, a number three times higher than the entire number of applications one year earlier. Domestic firms have made no secret of their interest in hiring Ukrainian labour, an initiative backed by the government and also the president. But organization has been a different matter: processing applications has been altogether too slow.
Czech ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Karel Borůvka, has been dismissed from his post because of his wife's activities on social networks. Mr Borůvka was due to serve in Bern until the end of his four-year term next summer, but he has been ordered to return home by the end of April. Alena Borůvková, the ambassador's wife, posted dozens of tweets on her Twitter account over the last few days in which she criticised fellow party members, journalists and other politicians. Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek said on Saturday he insisted on the ambassador's dismissal, arguing that his wife was also part of the diplomatic corps. The ambassador said earlier that he considered the actions of the Foreign Ministry as unprecedented, adding that he had no responsibility for his wife`s activities.
Legal position of EU citizens in Britain and financial obligations of Great Britain towards EU countries will be among the V4 priorities in negotiations over Brexit, prime ministers of the Visegrad Four countries agreed at a meeting in Warsaw on Tuesday. The leaders of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland repeatedly rejected the idea of cutting funds to countries that refuse to take migrants. The V4 prime ministers are also scheduled to take part in an international Innovators Summit being held in the Polish capital and sign a so-called “pact for innovation”.
The Czech foreign ministry has called on Belarus and Russia to release demonstrators detained in both countries over the weekend. Around 100 demonstrators were detained in Moscow, including opposition leader Alexei Navalny, during a protest against corruption which targeted top members of the government. In Belarus around 400 people were detained following protests in the capital, Minsk, and other main cities against the regime’s social and economic policies.
An interview in which Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek spoke about the need for EU member states to be allowed to regulate the movement of the workforce in order to prevent social problems has kicked up a storm of controversy. The story was picked up by the foreign press and the opposition is accusing minister Zaorálek of damaging Czech interests in the EU.
The Embassy of Ukraine has strongly criticised Czech MP Jaroslav Holík for allegedly taking part in celebrations marking the third anniversary of the annexation of Crimea by Russian forces. The story was reported Monday by the Czech News Agency. The Embassy of Ukraine in Prague said in a statement that Mr Holík, an MP for the Movement of Freedom and Direct Democracy which splintered from the upstart Dawn Party, was reportedly one of a handful of foreign politicians to take part; the embassy has asked the Czech Chamber of Deputies to investigate the visit. The Czech News Agency said, according to its own information, that the visit was private and not official.
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