The Austrian daily Der Standard has reported that an interview with President Václav Klaus during the Czech head-of-state’s visit to Vienna this week went differently than planned – with Mr Klaus allegedly cutting things short after just a few minutes. The newspaper maintains that even though the interview was agreed to in advance, the president allowed only four questions. The reporter asked about the president's views on further EU integration and nationalism before time ran out. Spokesman Radim Ochvat denied the interview had been planned and suggested it was impromptu on the heels of a book presentation and signing. He also said it was also not an exclusive interview but that other journalists were present. Der Standard noted that the Czech president left without a saying a word.
President Václav Klaus has cancelled a four-day visit to Israel scheduled to have begun on Sunday, spokesman Radim Ochvat told the Czech news agency on Thursday evening. No details were added. The president announced his visit to Israel back in August. With the trip, he reportedly wanted to reciprocate Israeli President Shimon Peres's visit to Prague two years ago. But this week Israel started retaliatory air and artillery operations in the territory of Gaza from where Palestinian militants had renewed missile attacks on Israel. The Czech ambassador to Israel Tomáš Pojar told ČTK that Prague and Tel Aviv had agreed on the postponement of the trip after mutual talks, taking into account the tense situation in the country.
Speaking on the first day of a three-day state visit to neighbouring Austria, the president of the Czech Republic, Václav Klaus, said on Tuesday that his country would not give in to irrational fanaticism and would carry on using nuclear power. He said the Czech Republic would continue with plans to extend the Temelín nuclear power plant in South Bohemia, adding, however, that the Czech side had taken note of Austria’s objections to the plant and would ensure its safety. Mr. Klaus made the comments after a meeting with his Austrian counterpart, Heinz Fischer, who said that while the two states disagreed on some issues they were still partners rather than opponents.
The US ambassador to Prague, Norman Eisen, described the victory of Mr. Obama – who nominated him for the post – as a signal of continuity in his country. He said the Obama administration would continue its policies aimed at supporting a path out of the recession. Mr. Eisen hosted a party at the American Embassy in Prague that ran from Tuesday night to Wednesday morning, with attendees following the results of the election as they came in on television. .
The Czech prime minister, Petr Nečas, has congratulated the incumbent Barack Obama on his victory in Tuesday’s presidential election in the United States. Mr. Nečas said cooperation between Mr. Obama’s administration and the Czech government worked very well and he believed the two sides could build on those good relations in the future. Meanwhile, the Czech president, Václav Klaus, told the news site Novinky.cz that while his heart beat on the right rather than on the left, he congratulated the American leader on his success.
Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg has expressed strong support for Serbian accession to the EU, saying Serbia could always count on Czech backing when it came to EU expansion. Mr Schwarzenberg made the statement on Monday after meeting in Prague with his Serbian counterpart Ivan Mrkic. The Balkans joining the EU is one of the priorities of Czech foreign policy. Kosovo, a former province in Serbia which declared independence four years ago remains a point of contention but Mr Mrkic said Serbia was open to discussion and said the matter would be discussed by the prime ministers. The European Commission has made clear that Serbia will be able to move ahead with accession talks if it takes clear steps towards improving relations.
The governments of the Czech Republic and Slovakia are to meet at a joint session on Monday, for the first time since the breakup of Czechoslovakia. The session will be held in the Czech town of Uherské Hradiště before moving on to Trenčín, in Slovakia. Czech and Slovak ministers will discuss cooperation of the two countries in the areas of security, energy, transportation and justice. The event will take place a day after the Czech national holiday marking the foundation of independent Czechoslovakia in 1918.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has requested Russia to explain a diplomatic incident in which a car with a diplomatic license plate was stopped by Russian police. The incident reportedly happened in Yekaterinburg on Thursday. A Czech consulate car was stopped by traffic police who demanded that the driver take a breathalyzer test, despite the fact that he had not violated any traffic rules. The request was refused by the diplomat present who called the Czech consul to the scene. The police claim to have stopped the vehicle after getting tipped off by an anonymous source and the Czech consul told the CTK news agency later that the immediate presence of journalists and a local TV crew at the scene of the incident was highly suspicious. The consul has strongly rejected claims that the driver may have been drunk or had been speeding.
As part of the official state visit of the Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev to the Czech Republic, a number of Czech and Kazakh companies signed trade partnership and investment contracts worth 155 million Euros or about 3.8 billion crowns. Most of the companies are part of the pharmaceutical, healthcare, agriculture or food industries. The largest contract that was signed, worth 45 million Euros (or 1.1 billion crowns), was concerning the import of rape seed oil from Kazakhstan by the Czech company Impex. In the first eight months of this year saw exports to Kazakhstan grow by 40% to 215 million dollars, while imports from the Central Asian country are worth 649 million dollars a year.
The president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbajev is on a two-day state visit to the Czech Republic. President Nazarbajev’s talks with Czech top officials are expected to focus largely on business relations and the two sides are expected to sign a dozen agreements to the tune of 155 million euros in the course of his visit. The Kazakh delegation includes four cabinet ministers and 45 leading entrepreneurs.
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