Monday, 21 May 2018

Senate: Zeman told untrue info on Novichok in Czech Republic

ČTK |
17 May 2018

Prague, May 16 (CTK) - Czech President Milos Zeman has told untrue information about the Novichok nerve agent being produced in the Czech Republic, and threatened the Czech Republic's security interests by releasing classified data, the Senate foreign, defence and security committee announced on Wednesday.

All intelligence services' reports conclude that Novichok, which was used to poison Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Britain, has been neither produced nor stored in the Czech Republic, the committee said.

Unlike the Chamber of Deputies, the Senate will probably not deal with the affair at its upcoming session, committee chairman Frantisek Bublan (for the Social Democrats, CSSD) said.

Senate chairman Milan Stech (CSSD), who took part in the about two-hour committee meeting held behind closed doors, considers the committee's stance sufficient and will send it to Zeman, Bublan said.

The latest affair will not lead to a possible constitutional complaint against the president either, he added.

Two weeks ago, Zeman said Novichok was really produced and tested in the Czech Republic in a small amount, referring to information from the military intelligence service.

The Kremlin used Zeman's words to challenge the British statement that Novichok came from Russia.

Bublan pointed out that Zeman's statement had an impact on the international scene. "It might also affect our citizens if some potential enemy knew what our Military Research Institute was doing," he added.

Bublan said the committee's stance was a recommendation for the government to more coordinate the release of the intelligence services' conclusions.

Defence Minister Karla Slechtova (ANO) told senators, in harmony with the intelligence services' results, that "no substance of the Novichok type wad produced or stored in the territory of the Czech Republic," she said after the committee meeting.

The lower house foreign committee stated the same last week.

The Defence Ministry said previously that the substances similar to the Novichok nerve agent were being synthetised in the Czech Republic for the chemical defence purposes, but in a microscopic amount only.

According to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the substance used to poison Skripal was not being tested in the Czech Republic.

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