Friday, 17 May 2019

Czech-German declaration was not to solve past problems, Klaus says

ČTK |
25 January 2017

Prague, Jan 24 (CTK) - The 1997 Czech-German declaration did not aim to resolve all problems between the two countries having their roots in the past and it did not seek reconciliation between the two nations, but rather reconciliation with one's own past, former president Vaclav Klaus said yesterday.
Klaus signed the Declaration on Mutual Relations and their Future Development on January 21, 1997, together with German chancellor Helmut Kohl.
"We knew that the declaration is no attempt to resolve various delicate problems of the past. The declaration was designated for those who wanted to hear and comprehend, a message saying it will not solve past problems because they cannot be solved," Klaus said.
He pointed out that the declaration said each side has its own legal opinion of the past issues. At the same time, it wrote that the wrongs done belong in the past and that they cannot burden future relations.
Klaus came out against identifying the declaration with reconciliation between the Czechs and Germans.
"I kept arguing about the word reconciliation. I consider it empty, false, unusable, evil and coming from the German side. This is what I never wanted to accept," Klaus said.
"I spoke about humility in relation to the past and I bid reconciliation with one's own past," Klaus said.
He said he considers redundant later accommodating gestures made by politicians towards Sudeten Germans who were transferred from Czechoslovakia after World War Two.
In this connection, he said the government of Jiri Paroubek (Social Democrats, CSSD) appreciated the German anti-fascists in 2005 and apologised to them for the wrongs done to them after the liberation in 1945.
Klaus criticised the speech made by former prime minister Petr Necas (Civic Democrats, ODS) in the Bavarian Landtag in 2013 in which Necas reiterated a passage of the Czech-German declaration saying the Czech Republic regrets wrongs caused by the post-war transfer of Sudeten Germans.
Klaus was also critical of last year's participation by Culture Minister Daniel Herman (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) in an annual Sudeten German meeting in Nuremberg and his speech he made there.
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