The country’s ambassadors around the world should be proud of the Czech Republic and talk up its achievements. That was the message from Andrej Babiš to Czech diplomats currently gathered in Prague. The prime minister also emphasised the importance of the Visegrad Four and repeated his opposition to euro adoption in a broad-ranging speech.
Throughout this week, Czech ambassadors posted around the world are meeting
in Prague for their annual meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
As is customary, the meeting was opened by the prime minister, Andrej Babiš (ANO), and followed by remarks from the foreign minister, Tomáš Petříček (Social Democrats) along with an address by an international guest of honour.
This year, it is Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok (People's Party for Freedom and Democracy). The three are due to discuss the possible deepening of cooperation between the Benelux countries and the Visegrád Four states.
On Tuesday, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney (Fine Gael) is due to speak to Czech ambassadors about the stat of Brexit negotiations and possibility of a so-called Irish backstop, which would maintain a seamless border on the island of Ireland after the UK leaves the EU.
The Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday summoned the Czech chargé
d'affaires to issue a sharp protest over the vandalizing of a statue
of Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev in Prague on the anniversary of the Soviet-led
invasion of Czechoslovakia.
In a diplomatic note to the Czech Foreign Ministry the Russian Foreign Ministry denounced the act as an insult to those who had laid down their lives in the liberation of Czechoslovakia and demanded that the matter be investigated and the culprit punished. It further called on the Czech authorities to remove the red paint and prevent similar incidents of vandalism in the future.
The Czech Foreign Ministry stated that it regretted the incident but said any decisions regarding the statue were fully in the hands of the local administration of the Prague 6 district.
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.
On Wednesday, Prague’s statue depicting Marshal of the Soviet Union Ivan Konev was covered in red paint by unnamed vandals. The monument has been similarly abused many times before. However, this time the local district authorities, who have been trying to move the statue to the Russian Embassy, say they will not clean up the damage until the embassy “starts constructive discussions”.
Poland has acknowledged it was wrong to proceed with changes to the
Bogatyne city plan, which opened the way for the expansion of the Turów
brown coal mine in the close proximity to the Czech border, the Czech
Environment Ministry said on Thursday.
The unilateral move raised protests from both the Czech Environment Ministry and the Liberec region. According to them, the Polish side did not wait for the conclusion of bilateral consultations on changes to the land-use plan and failed to take the Czech Republic’s reservations into account. The Czech Republic called for an extraordinary meeting on the issue last week.
Despite unfinished negotiations with the Czech Republic, Bogatyne earlier approved a change to the zoning plan, which, among other things, allowed the extension of the mine by 14.6 hectares towards the border with the Czech Republic.
The Czech side had requested information on the impact of the change on water resources, agricultural land and other habitats, as well as air and noise pollution on the Czech side of the border.
The Polish Directorate-General for Environmental Protection should deliver the information before Wednesday, August 28, when the Czech and Polish governments are to hold a joint session in Warsaw.
Police are investigating the vandalizing of the statue of Soviet Marshal
Ivan Konev in Prague 6 which was splattered with red paint on the
anniversary of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia on August 21,
The statue was erected in commemoration of the general’s role in helping to liberate Czechoslovakia from Nazi oppression, however Konev remains a controversial figure since he was also involved in the suppression of the Hungarian uprising in 1956, and the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961.
His statue has been spray painted in protest on several occasions in recent years.
The head of the National Cyber and Information Security Service (NÚKIB)
has denied that his agency shared its findings on a recent cyberattack
against the Foreign Ministry with the Senate Committee for Defence and
Last week that committee said a “foreign state power” had hacked into the ministry’s computer network, citing information from the NÚKIB, and called for more resources to be allocated to cyber security.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) at the weekend had criticized the agency for informing the Senate of the situation but no members of the government. At a National Security Council meeting on Monday, NÚKIB director Dušan Navrátil denied that was the case.
An attack on the computers of the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs was
most likely carried out by another state, according to the National Cyber
and Information Security Service. The agency informed the Senate’s
Committee for Defence and Security of its findings and on Tuesday committee
members called on the government to ensure that the National Cyber and
Information Security Service devoted all the necessary attention and
resources to the issue.
Deník N reported that a cyber-attack on the Czech Foreign Ministry carried out in June was most probably the work of Russia’s military intelligence service, the GRU. The news website said this had been confirmed to it by a number of very well placed sources.
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