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ForMin criticises Zeman for early release of ambassador's name

ČTK |
3 October 2016

Prague, Oct 2 (CTK) - Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek criticised President Milos Zeman in a televised debate on Sunday for having released the name of the new ambassador to the U.S. early, before the candidate received Washington's agrement.

Zeman should not have revealed it, Zaoralek (Social Democrats, CSSD) said.

He and his partner in the debate, former foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg (TOP 09), also criticised Zeman for interfering in internal affairs of foreign countries, mainly in connection with the presidential elections in the U.S. and Austria.

During his visit to the Czech expatriates' house in New York in September, Zeman announced that his aide, the Presidential Office's foreign department head Hynek Kmonicek, will be the new Czech ambassador to the USA.

He did so though Kmonicek's nomination still needed the U.S. agrement.

Zaoralek said it is a rule that the names of new ambassadors are not released before agrement is granted by the host country.

"I disagree with the president on this point. He should not have said it. He told it to a group of journalists from which the information could be expected to leak. I think this is wrong. If we stopped observing rules, we would end in hell," Zaoralek said.

Schwarzenberg pointed to Zeman's similar faux pas in the past when he released prematurely the name of Jindrich Forejt, his another aide whom he promoted for Czech ambassador to the Vatican.

Zaoralek and Schwarzenberg also criticised Zeman for openly preferring one of the candidates running in the direct presidential elections in the USA and Austria.

Commenting on the U.S. polls, Zeman said in late September he would support the Republican candidate Donald Trump.

Earlier in September, he received Norbert Hofer, one of the two Austrian candidates who will clash in the repeated second round of the presidential election, at Prague Castle and expressed support for him.

"If someone told Czechs whom they should choose for president, we would not like this either. I do not think it is our task to recommend which presidential candidate the Americans should vote for. It is their business," Zaoralek said.

Such recommendations are also wrong for tactical reasons. The Czech Republic should not close its path forwards. If the Czech Republic wants the USA to be its ally, it will have to negotiate with anyone the Americans would elect as president, Zaoralek added.

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