The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, is set to visit the Armenian Genocide Museum in Yerevan on a visit to Armenia next week, according to a working version of his programme released by his office. The Czech Republic has not recognised the killing of more than a million Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915 as genocide, unlike a number of other European states, most recently Germany. However, Mr. Zeman did use the term genocide during a visit to Prague by his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sargsyan in 2014; his office said the Czech president was expressing his personal opinion.
The Czech Republic provided development aid worth close to 5 billion crowns in 2015, according to a preliminary estimate published by the Czech Development Agency. The money was used to secure access to drinking water for villages in Ethiopia, finance the education of socially challenged children in Palestine and help farmers in Afghanistan, among others. According to Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Tlapa Czech firms have shown a growing interest in investing in the developing world, but there are few willing to invest in the poorest countries.
Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Lubomír Zaorálek held talks Wednesday with his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault in Paris. The talks covered current international and European affairs, for example the Middle East and Ukraine, as well as economic issues. The French ministry underlined the excellent state of current bilateral relations and the constructive stance taken by Prague during its current presidency of the Visegrad regional grouping, which includes Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary, which ends in June.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka will head a high-level Czech delegation to China in two weeks’ time, the Office of the Government announced on Tuesday. The aim of the visit is to boost cooperation in air transport, health care and the financial sector, officials said. The minister of labour and social affairs, Michaela Marksová, the minister of transport, Dan Ťok, and the minister of health, Svatopluk Němeček, and the minister of industry and trade, Jan Mládek, will join the Mr. Sobotka on the trip between June 16 and June 20. The Czech PM will hold talks with his Chinese counterpart, Li Keqiang, during the visit.
An audit by the country’s Supreme Audit Office has found shortcomings in business rentals of commercial space by the Czech Foreign Ministry. The checks were conducted between the years 2012 and 2014, auditing property worth 752 million crowns and funds of 349 million crowns. The bureau charged that the renal of business space in Prague’s Rytířská Street was uneconomical, charging two clients between 6,000 and 7,000 crowns per square metre and a third only around 4,500 – a difference of a minimum of 2.2 million crowns lost annually over a four-year period. The Czech Audit Office also found that expenses for the children of employees at Czech missions around the world had grown significantly, despite the fact that under existing norms they should attend state schools. The Czech News Agency, which reported the story, has contacted the ministry for comment.
Lebanese national Faouz Jaber was secretly extradited to the US to the Czech Republic weeks ago in connection with suspected terrorism charges, the weekly Právo reports. The move, confirmed by the police, was reportedly kept quiet for security reasons. Faouz Jaber was one of three people wanted by the United States, but earlier two other Lebanese citizens were allowed to return to their homeland in exchange for five Czechs held for more than half a year in that country. That move sparked sharp criticism of the Czech action from US authorities. They wanted to question the trio in connected with a suspected drugs for arms involving the FARC guerrilla movement in Colombia.
Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and seven members of his government will take part in a bilateral meeting with the Israeli government on Sunday. The Czech delegation to the annual meeting has also been accompanied by a business delegation aiming to boost ties. The main talks are likely to cover security, health, tourism, and culture. Sobotka is due to meet separately with Israeli president Reuven Rivlin and his counterpart Benjamin Netanhaju.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and seven ministers of the ruling coalition are due to travel to Israel where on Sunday they will take part in intergovernmental talks. During their meeting with Israeli officials in Jerusalem a number of memoranda on future cooperation are to be signed, the Czech News Agency confirmed. Topics to be tabled include security, health care, tourism and cultural and economic ties. The trip includes an accompanying business delegation. The meeting was originally scheduled to take place in Prague this year but the plans were changed to accommodate the Israeli cabinet.
Several dozen Czech diplomats, scientists and other notable figures have signed an open letter addressed to renowned British playwright with Czech roots Tom Stoppard appealing to Great Britain to remain within the European Union. In the letter, Czech signatories point to historic and cultural ties between the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe. The letter was initiated by the former Czech ambassador to Great Britain, Michael Žantovský. Brits are to vote on the so-called Brexit on June 23.
One of the biggest trade issues to be addressed by the end of this year should be the status of China and whether it should be recognized as a full fledged functioning market economy. The Czech Republic appears to be taking a negative stance on the decision which needs to be taken along with other EU states. Prague’s main worry is the impact on jobs in sensitive industrial sectors.
Over 1,000 skeletons discovered during renovation of Kutná Hora “bone church”
Language exams for foreigners seeking permanent residency permit to become tougher
Why are Russian and Chinese spying activities in Czech Republic so intense and how exactly do they do it?
Prague’s historical Koh-i-noor factory to be converted into residential area
The history of the “German Czechs”