Andrew Schapiro, whose mother was born in the city, has been one of the most visible US ambassadors to Prague in recent decades. Since his appointment in September 2014 the diplomat has pursued a distinctly liberal agenda, and notably fell afoul of President Zeman, who said he was unwelcome at Prague Castle.
Czech member of the European Parliament Pavel Telička has been elected one of the parliament’s deputy presidents. He will join 14 other MEPs chosen to become deputy presidents for the newly elected People’s Party president, Italian Antonio Tajani. Telička is a member of the ANO party and was the chief negotiator ahead of the Czech admission to the European Union in 2004.
What will Donald Trump’s presidency mean for Czech-US relations? And is his ex-wife Ivana really in line to become American ambassador to Prague? Ahead of Mr. Trump’s inauguration on Friday I discussed those questions and much more with Daniel Anýž, a well-known commentator on Czech-US affairs who was based in Washington for several years.
President Miloš Zeman and Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek debated key foreign policy challenges in the year ahead at Lány Chateau near Prague on Saturday. At a press briefing following the talks Minister Zaorálek said they had agreed on the need to build a good working relationship with the new US administration, and stressed the importance of a functional European Union. Other issues discussed were the fight against terrorism and security issues. The talks are part of regular consultations on foreign policy between the government and president. President Zeman, who openly supported US president elect Donald Trump during his election campaign has received an invitation to the White House in April.
Several dozen people turned out to bid a symbolic goodbye to US Ambassador to Prague Andrew Schapiro who is due to leave his post following the election of Republican Donald Trump to the White House. The group assembled close to Charles Bridge, giving the ambassador a rendition of the popular polka Škoda lásky and singing Goodby Andrew, a song composed in his honour. The ambassador was not present due to other engagements. His fans said they would post the goodbye songs on Facebook for him to see. Andrew Schapiro was appointed ambassador to the Czech Republic by outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama. He took up the post in September 2014.
The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs should have the power to decide extradition cases, not the Ministry of Justice as at present, according to Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek. Speaking on a television discussion show on Sunday, the foreign policy chief made the comment in connection with the case of alleged Russian hacker Yevgeny Nikulin, who both the US and Russia are seeking. Mr. Zaorálek said making extradition a foreign policy matter was logical as it had an influence on relations with other states. Mr. Nikulin was arrested in Prague in October. He is wanted by the FBI in connection with a hack of LinkedIn in which the passwords of more than 100 million users of the professional networking service were compromised. Currently Czech courts rule on extradition, with their decisions then confirmed or rejected by the justice minister.
The US ambassador to Prague, Andrew Schapiro, will leave his post by January 20, ahead of the inauguration of Donald Trump as the new US president, Czech media have reported citing a story in the New York Times. The paper said that politically appointed, rather than diplomatic ambassadors, have not been given an extra few weeks in their postings after the new head of state is sworn in. Schapiro became ambassador in September 2014. He is best known for a series of clashes with Czech head of state, president Miloš Zeman. In the last incident Zeman accused Schapiro wrongly of shunning national day celebrations and later he had to make a grudging apology. Trump’s Czech born wife, Ivana, has said she would like to be the new ambassador in Prague.
In the wake of his surprise election, US president elect Donald Trump has been busy putting together his White House team. And most of the diplomatic world outside the US, the Czech Republic included, has been poring over the appointments and subsequent comments for clues they could give about Trump’s future priorities and policies will be once the election rhetoric is cast off.
The US Embassy in Prague chose an original way of wishing Czechs Merry Christmas this year. It posted a video on its web page showing embassy employees singing one of the best loved Czech Christmas carols Půjdem spolu do Betléma –We will go to Bethlehem Together –in the original. The video starts with Cultural Attaché Erin Kotheimer and Ray Castillo, Counselor for Public Affairs breaking into song and other employees joining in as they walk around the US residence. At the end Ambassador Andrew Schapiro joins them to wish Czechs a Merry Christmas on behalf of all the staff.
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Prague’s historical Koh-i-noor factory to be converted into residential area
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