Monday, 19 March 2018

Zeman to visit Slovakia in April, then other neighbours

8 March 2018

Prague, March 7 (CTK) - Czech President Milos Zeman will visit Slovakia in April as the first foreign trip in his second term of office, and his visits to the other neighbour states, which is Poland, Germany and Austria, will follow, the Presidential Office foreign section head Rudolf Jindrak told CTK on Wednesday.

Apart from the neighbours, Zeman will also visit Hungary, which forms the Visegrad Four (V4) group together with the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia.

Furthermore, Zeman would like to visit Israel this year, Jindrak said, adding that Zeman discussed the trip with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by phone at the end of January.

Zeman is known as a supporter of Israel.

Jindrak said the Slovak trip of Zeman, who will be inaugurated as president for another five years on Thursday, will take place between April 4-6.

In Bratislava, Zeman and his Slovak counterpart Andrej Kiska might discuss this year's celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Czechoslovakia, Jindrak said.

During the upcoming celebrations, Zeman and Kiska may meet each other again at various events marking the anniversary in their respective countries but also abroad.

For example, the French president has invited Czech and Slovak representatives to Darney, where a solemn oath was sworn by 6,000 officers of the Czechoslovak rifle regiment in France before their departure for the front in June 1918. On that occasion, then French president Raymond Poincare confirmed the Czechs and Slovaks' right to independence and own state.

The order in which Zeman will pay the following visits to Poland, Germany and Austria has been still under negotiations, Jindrak said.

During his first term in office, Zeman repeatedly visited the summits of NATO, and meetings of UN as well as V4 presidents.

This year, NATO summit is scheduled for the summer and the UN General Assembly will meet in September as usual.

Jindrak said it will depend on agreement between Zeman and the Czech prime minister who will attend the events on Prague's behalf.

The current Czech government of Andrej Babis (ANO) lost a confidence vote in parliament in January, has been ruling in resignation and Babis is negotiating on forming a new cabinet that would enjoy parliament's support.

Jindrak said he would welcome it if top Czech constitutional officials continued discussing foreign political issues at regular meetings, as they did during Zeman's previous term (2013-2018).

Apart from preparing Zeman's trips abroad, the Presidential Office is preparing foreign leaders' visits to Prague.

"I cannot name any concrete countries yet, but we are planning [to receive] three or four very significant visits by the end of the year," Jindrak said.

Foreign officials will be invited to Prague this year also in connection with Czechoslovakia's birth centenary, he said.

Besides visiting neighbours, Zeman's priorities include the economic diplomacy and the development of the EU. Also important will be the establishment of contacts with [foreign] states' representatives who came to power after elections of late, Jindrak added.

Copyright 2015 by the Czech News Agency (ČTK). All rights reserved.
Copying, dissemination or other publication of this article or parts thereof without the prior written consent of ČTK is expressly forbidden. The Prague Daily Monitor is not responsible for its content.