Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Zeman should not announce next ambassador to USA, ex-ministers say

ČTK |
23 September 2016

Prague, Sept 22 (CTK) - President Milos Zeman acted in an unusual way and violated the rules when he presented Hynek Kmonicek, current head of his office's foreign section, as the future Czech ambassador to the USA during his visit to New York, former Czech foreign ministers told CTK yesterday.
Former foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg, honorary chairman of the opposition TOP 09, told CTK that Zeman had behaved tastelessly.
Another ex-head of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Cyril Svoboda (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) said even the president should respect the rule that the name of the new ambassador is released only after being accepted by the host country.
"The president has acted hastily. This is a breach of the common rules. Until the ambassadors leave for the new posts, their names are not released," Svoboda told CTK.
However, Zeman's diplomatic slip will have no impact neither on Kmonicek's work in office nor Czech-U.S. relations, Svoboda added.
Schwarzenberg, Zeman's rival candidate in the presidential duel three years ago, pointed to Zeman's similar slip of the tongue in the case of Presidential Office Protocol head Jindrich Forejt.
"This is very unusual and the president did so once in the past when he announced that Forejt would be an ambassador to the Vatican," Schwarzenberg said.
"This is naturally impolite [to say this] before the respective country agrees with the person we want to send there," he added.
According to the Czech rules, a new ambassador is at first proposed by the foreign minister to the government and after the proposal is approved, it is passed to the president who names them.
The data on the next ambassador are sent to the host country that gives its consent (agrement) or, very exceptionally, rejects the proposal. Only then the name of the new ambassador is publicly released.
Svoboda said Kmonicek is expected to receive agrement from the United States. "Rejection is an expression of fundamentally hostile relations between countries, I cannot imagine it at all that the USA would not grant agrement to Hynek Kmonicek," Svoboda said.
Schwarzenberg also criticised Zeman for saying who is his favourite candidate in the upcoming U.S. presidential election.
Zeman said he would support the Republican candidate Donald Trump if he were a U.S. citizen since his own views of migration and the fight against the Islamic State militant group were closer to those of Trump than to those of the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton.
"If Clinton is elected, her circles will naturally keep it in mind that the president supported Trump, so this will have consequences for the poor ambassador as well," Schwarzenberg said.

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