Czech President Milos Zeman has defended US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. President Zeman said EU member states should follow the US example.
Meanwhile, the Czech political scene is divided on the issue. The right-wing Civic Democrats and the SPD welcomed Trump’s decision, while TOP 09 took a reserved stance and the Communist Party sharply criticized the move.
The Czech Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying it considers Jerusalem the future capital of both Israel and the future state of Palestine, in line with EU policy. It said Prague would not transfer its embassy to Jerusalem without discussing the issue with its partners in the EU.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has said he does not agree with the idea that the Czech Embassy in Tel Aviv could be moved to Jerusalem. President Miloš Zeman brought up the possibility after expressing backing for US President Donald Trump who officially recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital this week.
Prime Minister Babiš told Czech Radio’s flagship station Radiožurnál that it was important not to create new conflicts in the Middle East, saying that the Czech Republic was a “small country which should try and work for peace”.
The new US ambassador to the Czech Republic, Stephen B. King, said at a meeting with journalists on Thursday that his primary goal is to support the development of economic relations between the two countries.
Ambassador King, who handed his credentials to President Miloš Zeman on Wednesday, said the meeting with the Czech head of state had been honest, open and fruitful. He expressed the hope to soon hold talks with the country’s new prime minister, Andrej Babiš, and Martin Stropnický who is to head the Foreign Ministry.
The new EU ambassador released a video on Facebook in which he introduced himself to the Czech public.
The locality of Magdaléna u Jistebnice in the Tábor area will, in all likelihood, not be included on a list of suitable locations for a deep storage site for nuclear waste, the mayor of Jistebnice, Vladimír Mašek, has said. The mayor said assurances had been given that Environment Minister Richard Brabec would respect public opinion and recommend the site not be included.
The Czech Republic is planning to narrow options down to four locations for a deep repository to be completed by 2065. Preparations up to 2020 are expected to cost 1.7 billion crowns. A final location should be agreed by 2025.
The broader leadership of the Communist Party is meeting on Friday to assess how its negotiation team, led by outgoing chairman Vojětch Filip, has handled post-election talks and how to approach the next rounds. This week ANO’s Andrej Babiš was named prime minister and next week his minority government will officially be named and will have 30 days to get backing in a confidence vote.
The Communists are the only party so far which has said it would be willing to tolerate an ANO government (including unaffiliated ministers) under certain circumstances, namely an agreement on a list of demands, including taxation of church restitution funds.
Prime Minister Babiš has said he will begin negotiations with parties in the lower house beginning on the 18th of December.
Slavia Prague’s run in football’s Europa League came to an abrupt end on Thursday night when they were defeated by Kazakh club Astana in Prague.
Astana scored in the closing minutes of the first half following a mistake by Slavia’s defence and goalkeeper. Slavia has numerous chances to equalise but did not find the back of the net. The final score was 1:0.
Saturday should be mostly cloudy with a chance of snow and daytime temperatures of around 0 degrees Celsius.