Commenting on the situation in Syria, Prime Minister Maliki said Iraq would never allow anyone to use its territory to supply weapons to Syria. He said his country’s borders were well guarded and Iraq was closely monitoring all flights across its territory. The prime minister said Iraq had already banned a certain country’s flight across Iraq, without specifying the country concerned. The US and some other states suspect Iran of supporting the Damascus regime by supplying weapons to it, using both air and ground routes via Iraq.
German President Joachim Gauck arrived on Wednesday for a one-day working
visit in the Czech Republic, the first in his capacity as president. On
Wednesday morning, he met with his Czech counterpart Václav Klaus at
Prague Castle and later with Prime Minister Petr Nečas. After his meeting
with Mr Klaus, the German president praised Czech-German relations as the
best they had ever been. On Wednesday afternoon, accompanied by President
Klaus, he travelled to Lidice - a village which the Nazis razed to the
ground in 1942 in retaliation for the assassination of Nazi governor
Reinhard Heydrich. In Lidice, all 173 men were executed, women and
were sent to concentration camps, while some of the children were selected
for re-education in Germany. After the war, only 143 women and 17 children
returned to the country.
The visit to Lidice was on the agenda at the German president’s request and he became the first German head-of-state to visit the site of the village. Mr Gauck laid wreaths at the graves of those killed in the massacre and at the Lidice memorial.
Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Karel Schwarzenberg has expressed appreciation of post-election developments in Georgia. Speaking after a meeting with his Georgian counterpart, Grigol Vashadze in Prague on Sunday, Mr Schwarzenberg welcomed the smooth transfer of power which matched the highest international democratic standards. Georgia is the only country in the region where the government was changed through democratic elections without manipulations, which is something the country needs to be congratulated for, Mr Schwarzenberg added. For his part, the Georgian foreign minister expressed gratitude that the Czech Republic’s continued support for his country’s Euro-Atlantic orientation.
Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, in an interview for The Cable
– one of US magazine Foreign Policy’s blogs, has said the West has
slow to react to steps taken by Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his
view, to re-establish Russia as a regional hegemon. In the interview, Mr
Schwarzenberg said that President Putin had installed an aggressive
autocracy, one he suggested was close “not to Stalin but to Russian Tsar
Nicholas I”; he stressed that the Obama administration’s “reset”
policy had not been able to influence the heading of the Russian
The Czech foreign minister has consistently voiced concerns over the situation in Russia, including human rights. Most recently, Mr Schwarzenberg condemned, for example, the trial of members of the political punk band Pussy Riot sentenced to three years in prison. Mr Schwarzenberg was in New York for the meeting of the U.N. General Assembly; he met earlier this week with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg has accused President Klaus of damaging the country by vetoing the government’s pension reform bill. Speaking in New York, where he is attending a session of the UN General Assembly, the Czech foreign minister said the pension reform should have been effected 15 years ago and delaying it further was putting an immense burden on the state budget. President Klaus on Monday vetoed the bill on the grounds that the government had failed to secure consensus on the reforms among experts, politicians and the broad public. The bill must now go back to the chamber of deputies where the governing coalition will need to secure 101 votes to override the president’s veto. Since the government no longer has a majority in the lower house this may prove highly problematic.
Prague’s Czernin Palace, the seat of the Czech Republic’s Foreign Ministry, opens to public on Sunday between 10 AM and 4 PM, offering an opportunity to visit the 18th century palace. People can see among other things the apartment of former Czechoslovak foreign minister Jan Masaryk who tragically died there in 1948, and can also stroll through the palace gardens. Viewings last for about an hour. The Open Door Day also featured photo exhibits in the palace and concluded with a concert by the Allstar Refjudží Band.
Speaking after a meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington on Friday, Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said the Czech army’s chemical warfare unit could take part in a possible allied intervention in Syria. Ms Clinton acknowledged the offer and expressed gratitude that the Czech embassy in Damascus had taken over US consular agenda in the country, Mr Schwarzenberg added. At the meeting, the officials also discussed the Czech-US treaty on the protection of investments which Czech officials would like to amend. During his US trip, the Czech foreign minister will also attend a session of the UN general assembly.
Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg arrived in the Republic of Georgia on Monday for a two-day trip to oversee preparations for the country’s parliamentary elections in October. Mr Schwarzenberg is joined by four other EU foreign ministers – from Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria and Romania – all members of an informal Friends of Georgia group, which will meet with their Georgian counterpart and offer objective support. The Czech Foreign Minister told a press conference in Tbilisi that they would be recording facts and hoped to remain unbiased, adding that the best friend is one that talks about the problems he sees.
The prime minister has come under fire for saying that support for Pussy
Riot and the Dalai Lama are harming the country’s interests and export
potential. The coalition party TOP 09 said on Tuesday that the views
expressed by the prime minister at the International Engineering Fair in
Brno were regrettable and could discredit the country.
Speaking to an audience of business leaders at the fair on Monday the Czech prime ministry said that while support for human rights must remain a top priority in Czech foreign policy, the false adoration of and support for the group Pussy Riot or the Dalai Lama were simply a fashionable trend that had nothing to do with supporting democracy and merely harmed the country’s exports.
TOP 09 leader and Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg has clearly distanced himself from the prime minister’s statement. In an interview for Tuesday’s Lidové Noviny, Mr. Schwarzenberg said he was horrified by the prime minister’s words and expressed concern about the fate of a government that placed economic interests above human rights. Mr. Schwarzenberg said he hoped no Czech foreign minister would ever pander to the superpowers in order to serve the country’s economic interests. Dictators must be treated the same regardless of their size, Mr. Schwarzenberg noted.
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