Friday, 25 April 2014

Hillary Clinton confirms Prague visit

ČTK |
29 November 2012

Prague, Nov 28 (CTK) - The Czech Foreign Ministry yesterday confirmed U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's planned visit to Prague on Monday, which server iHNed.cz said is aimed to support the Westinghouse company's bid in the tender for the extension of the Czech nuclear power plant Temelin.

Clinton's Prague schedule is still being prepared. During her several-hour visit, she is expected to meet her Czech counterpart Karel Schwarzenberg (TOP 09), the Foreign Ministry's spokesman Vit Kolar told CTK.

Clinton will probably also meet Prime Minister Petr Necas (Civic Democrats, ODS).

She is to leave Prague on Monday afternoon.

In a statement for CTK yesterday, Necas said visiting foreign ministers are usually also received by the prime minister.

"If State Secretary Clinton's visit takes place and if my work schedule allows it, I'll meet her," Necas told CTK via his spokesman.

Clinton will visit the Czech Republic after less than a year. Last December, she and her husband, former U.S. president Bill Clinton, attended the funeral of former Czech president Vaclav Havel.

In the preceding years, Hillary Clinton visited Prague as a member of a delegation led by U.S. President Barack Obama.

Schwarzenberg met Clinton in the USA this September.

The U.S. embassy in Prague said Temelin is also on the agenda of the negotiations that Nicole Lamb-Hale, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for manufacturing and services, is conducting in Prague.

Lamb-Hale has met Czech deputy foreign minister Tomas Dub and deputy industry minister Milan Hovorka to discuss the Westinghouse bid's economic advantages, the embassy's spokesman Paul Oglesby told CTK yesterday.

The USA reacts to the original timetable set by the Czech state-controlled energy utility CEZ, Temelin's operator, according to which a preliminary decision on the tender's result should be made in the months to come. The Americans are considerably intensifying their activity, iHNed.cz quoted a Czech diplomat well acquainted with the preparation of Clinton's trip to Prague as saying.

The visit to Prague was reportedly included in her schedule in the last moment as an expression of the high importance the U.S. Administration attaches to the tender for Temelin's extension, the server wrote.

The costs of Temelin's extension are estimated at 200 to 300 billion crowns. The plant's planned third and fourth units are to be completed in 2025 at the latest.

The tender's winner is to be chosen next year.

In early October, CEZ eliminated one of the bidders, the French company Areva, from the competition over its failure to meet the required conditions.

Areva's protest against the decision is being handled by the anti-trust office UOHS.

Apart from Areva and Westinghouse, a U.S. firm, the third bidder is the Russian-Czech consortium MIR.1200, which comprises the Russian companies Atomstroyexport and Gidropress, and the Czech company Skoda JS.

($1=19.529 crowns)

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