Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Bavarian TV: Czech ambassador not greeting Sudeten German meeting

16 July 2018

Wurzburg, Germany, July 15 (CTK) - The Czech ambassador attended a meeting of Sudeten Germans in Bavarian Wurzburg on Sunday, but he did not read the originally announced greeting probably over a recent rift between Prague and Berlin, the Bavarian TV BR has reported.

The conflict was caused by German Chancellor Angel Merkel's statement in June that there was neither moral nor political justification for the transfer of Germans from Central and East European countries after World War Two. Her words outraged Czech President Milos Zeman and PM Andrej Babis, BR reported in this connection.

The annual festive meeting of Sudeten Germans was held in Wurzburg for the first time. The presence of Czech Ambassador to Berlin Tomas Jan Podivinsky was to be a clear sign of further improving of relations between Czech and Sudeten Germans, BR said.

However, though it was originally announced that Podivinsky would pronounce a message of greeting at this meeting, he did not do so eventually.

Podivinsky gave BR a short interview.

"These statements and counter-statements show that we must keep developing these excellent relations and care for them," Podivinsky said.

Good bilateral relations are nothing "automatic" and "this is why we must further cultivate these relations, especially between Bavaria and Czechia, but also between Germany and the Czech Republic," BR cites Podivinsky as saying.

On the basis of the decrees issued by Czechoslovak president President Edvard Benes in 1945, about three million ethnic Germans were transferred from former Czechoslovakia, mainly the border regions (Sudetenland), after World War Two and their property was confiscated. More than one million of them settled in Bavaria.

In the past two years, the previously cool relations between Czechs and Sudeten Germans started improving and Czech government members attended the meetings of the Sudeten-German Landsmannschaft (SL) organisation, representing Sudeten German deportees and refugees from the Sudetenland in former Czechoslovakia.

The first official Czech government representative to address the SL meeting was culture minister Daniel Herman in 2016. Last year, deputy PM Pavel Belobradek (both Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) delivered a speech at the SL meeting.

This year, no Czech minister took part in the May Sudeten-German Landsmannschaft meeting in Augsburg, Bavaria, also because of problems with the formation of a new Czech government. However, several parties, such as the Social Democrats (CSSD), TOP 09 and Greens, sent its representatives there and Podivinsky attended the event as well.


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