Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Opposition: Zeman's EU speech harms Czech reputation again

ČTK |
11 October 2017

Prague, Oct 10 (CTK) - President Milos Zeman's speech at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on Tuesday harmed the Czech Republic abroad again, leader of the opposition TOP 09 Miroslav Kalousek has told journalists, having in mind Zeman's rejection of sanctions against Russia over its annexation of Crimea.

The annexation was "a fait accompli," Zeman said. A Russian-Ukrainian dialogue could lead to compensation for Ukraine, which might receive money or gas, he added.

The Foreign Ministry said in its press release that the validity of anti-Russian sanctions was directly linked with complete fulfilment of the Russian-Ukrainian Minsk agreements by a decision of an EU summit.

"The credibility of EU policy would be questioned if the reasons for which the sanctions were imposed did not pass before reconsidering them," the ministry said.

"When deciding on the further fate of the sanctions, one has to bear in mind the need to preserve the EU unity," it added.

Kalousek said Zeman's words were outrageous and in conflict with Czech foreign policy.

"It harms the Czech Republic in the civilised world," he added.

TOP 09 deputy chairman Marek Zenisek said Zeman had no mandate to express his personal views on an international forum, to present it as the Czech Republic's position or to give any advice to Ukraine.

"His behaviour has only confirmed that he is Russia's fifth column," Zenisek said.

The opposition Civic Democratic Party (ODS) deputy chairman, Martin Kupka, said violation of international treaties and aggression could not be described as a fait accompli.

"In the history, such a relativisation has always prepared ground for even more arbitrariness. It is Zeman's another foul," Kupka wrote to CTK.

A support for armed aggression by the president of the Czech Republic is shameful, ODS deputy Miroslava Nemcova said.

Zeman's position was also rejected by Marian Jurecka, deputy chairman of the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL, a junior coalition government member).

"A compensation for Crimea? How can the president of our country with our history say something like this! Internationally recognised borders are untouchable!" Jurecka said.

Communist (KSCM) leader Vojtech Filip said a new Minsk meeting should be held in order to normalise relations between Russia and Ukraine.

"The sooner this happens, the better so that the chaos in Europe can diminish," Filip said.

Former Austrian president Heinz Fischer, now attending the Prague conference Forum 2000, also spoke about the affair.

"I think that Europe should criticise Russia's annexation of Crimea. We cannot accept this as a fait accompli," he said.

Ukrainian politicians are also outraged at Zeman's words. Ukrainian media has called them "scandalous."

"Ukraine will never sell its citizens, territory, sovereignty, honour and dignity. This is not for sale," the Ukrainian news agency Unian quoted Ukrainian parliament deputy chairwoman Iryna Herashchenko.

She said the opposite of former president Vaclav Havel, some "anti-Havel," spoke in Strasbourg.

"If one can sell Crimea, Zeman can sell Prague and the town of Karlovy Vary to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin," a Ukrainian deputy for Petro Poroshenko Bloc, Oleksiy Honcharenko, wrote on the Facebook.

"Putin may give both money and petrol," he added.

"It would be interesting to find out whether Zeman would agree if Hitler offered him compensation for the occupation of the Sudeten," Ukrainian Borislav Bereza said.

Bereza said doctors had recommended to Zeman that he should limit his alcohol drinking, but he declared that he would not do so.

It is apparent from Zeman's speech on Tuesday that Zeman has stood by his word, he added.

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