Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Senate: Zeman legitimises aggression by his pro-Russian words

ČTK |
13 October 2017

Prague, Oct 12 (CTK) - Czech President Milos Zeman has legitimised aggression that is at variance with international law by his statements on the Russian annexation of Crimea, calling it a "fait accompli," the Senate said in its stance adopted on Thursday.

The head od state should respect Czech foreign policy, the Senate, the upper house of Czech parliament, agreed.

However, it did not adopt the proposal by senator Jiri Ruzicka (for TOP 09 and STAN) to express the view that Zeman is harming the interests of the Czech Republic.

Zeman's spokesman Jiri Ovcacek rejected the Senate's criticism.

In his speech in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on Tuesday, Zeman called the Russian annexation of Crimea a "fait accompli. "He recommended that Russia and Ukraine agree on compensation, for instance in the form of money or oil or gas.

Zeman also pointed out that the anti-Russian sanctions were not effective.

The Senate expressed disagreement with Zeman's pro-Russian statements on the Crimea annexation.

"By his statements, the president of the republic legitimises the aggression that is at variance with international law," the Senate said in its resolution supported by 38 out of the 47 senators present.

Only three members of the senator group of the Party of Citizens' Rights (SPO), founded by Zeman's fans, and the Communists (KSCM) voted against it and six senators abstained from the vote.

SPO group head Jan Veleba said the current leadership turned the Senate into an instrument of political struggle against Zeman. The Senate will become redundant unless it stops doing so because it has a far lower mandate than Zeman, a directly elected president.

Veleba said the Senate had issued critical declarations on Zeman's statements for the third time already.

Most senators distanced themselves from Zeman's statements in the debate. Only Communist senator Vaclav Homolka called on the Senate to be reserved. He pointed out that the president was elected directly and consequently he was accountable to citizens only.

Representatives of the government and some opposition parties criticised Zeman's speech.

Ukrainian diplomacy called his statements absolutely unacceptable in its official statement.

On the contrary, Russian politicians assessed them as an actual recognition of the Crimean annexation.

The coalition government of the Social Democrats (CSSD), ANO and Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) rejected Zeman'pro-Russian statements on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (CSSD) said earlier Zeman had no mandate from the cabinet for his speech in the CE and his words were at sharp variance with Czech foreign policy.

In its stance, prepared by EU affairs committee chairman Vaclav Hampl (for KDU-CSL), the Senate points to its position on the Russian annexation of Crimea expressed last year, in which senators called it a result of Russian aggression in contradiction with international law.

The upper house also called on Zeman to be more moderate in his statements. Then president should not harm the serious character of other constitutional bodies and threaten the allied commitments and the values the Czech Republic is promoting, senators said.

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