Thursday's massacre in Madrid has shocked the international community, provoking condemnation from governments around the world and evoking fears that the killings could be just the start of a bigger terrorist campaign. In the Czech Republic government officials have expressed their condolences to the people of Spain and condemned the attack as "a terrible atrocity". Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla said that Thursday's events in the Spanish capital provided further proof of the fact that terrorism cannot be tolerated in any form and that the Czech Republic must join other countries in the fight against it.
"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is shocked by the reports of terrorist attacks in Madrid that have claimed many innocent victims among the civilian population. The ministry strongly condemns all acts of violence and terrorism regardless of their nature or political motivation. The Czech Republic is an active member of the anti-terrorist coalition and strictly refuses the use of violence and terrorism for political goals. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expresses its deepest sympathy and most sincere condolences to the relatives of the victims."
Czech president Vaclav Klaus and Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla have sent the Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar letters of condolence. Earlier on Friday, Mr. Spidla spoke at an impromptu press conference held in Prague.
"In my telegram to Prime Minister Aznar I clearly said that the Czech Republic is on the side against terrorism, we will remain so and we will use all the means at our disposal to eradicate this evil. There is no doubt that something is happening which we could call the globalisation of terror. The essence of this phenomenon is that anywhere in the world, at any moment, can become a battlefield. This time it was Madrid, tomorrow it could be somewhere else."
Some three thousand Czech citizens are believed to reside in Spain, of which at least several hundred live in Madrid. Dita Asiedu spoke with the Czech Ambassador to Spain, Martin Povejsil, to find out what the atmosphere is like and whether any Czechs are believed to be among the victims:
"Well, today, the situation is more or less getting back to normal even though, of course, the impact of yesterday's attacks still remains present in the city. Immediately after the information was transferred, Czech President Vaclav Klaus, Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla, and the Foreign Minister sent their messages of solidarity and immediately after them, the presidents of the Senate and the Lower House of the Czech Republic. So, the reaction was immediate. We tried to find out whether the Spanish authorities needed some sort of assistance from the Czech side and we were ready to consider immediately to provide this assistance if it was required, but it was not the case."
Do you know whether there were any Czech citizens among the victims?
"We have no information about Czech victims or injured persons. As far as I'm aware, we do not know about anybody missing a relative here in Madrid."
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