Baku, Sept 17 (CTK special correspondent) – The refugees from Ukraine should be included in the number of the migrants who are to be voluntarily redistributed across Europe, Czech President Milos Zeman, now on an official visit to Azerbaijan, told journalists before leaving yesterday.
Zeman said this was his personal opinion on which he had not consulted the government.
On Wednesday, Human Rights Minister Jiri Dienstbier (Social Democrats, CSSD) said the Czech Republic might be able to accept 7,000-15,000 refugees.
Dienstbier said the Czech Republic should also express solidarity and offer its help to the countries that were facing the strongest refugee influx even without the mandatory quotas.
Zeman reacted to the remarks by repeating the statement by Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (CSSD).
Chovanec said sarcastically he had not known Dienstbier had such a large flat [to provide accommodation for some of the refugees].
The Czech government has rejected the mandatory redistribution quotas, proposed by the EU, preferring a stricter protection of the Schengen border.
“I share the Czech government’s view that the refugees should be accepted on the voluntary basis,” Zeman said.
“I have my own view, on which I had not consulted the government, that the voluntary quotas, if they are called so, should include Ukrainians,” he added.
“Ukrainians, too, are refugees and with their origin and diligence, they are somewhat close to us,” Zeman said before flying back from Azerbaijan.
He repeated his opinion that refugees cannot be kept in the Czech Republic by force.
“If they want to go to Germany, or to Sweden, but mainly to Germany, they will go there within the Schengen area,” Zeman said.
Asked about the future of the Czech female ambassadors to Slovakia and Syria, Livia Klausova and Eva Filipi, respectively, who should quit their posts by the end of the year according to the new civil service law because they are older than 70 years, Zeman indicated his further procedure.
“I will only quote the constitution that says ‘the president appoints and dismisses ambassadors.’ This power is exclusively entrusted to the president of the republic and not to anyone else,” Zeman said.
Zeman said previously he disagrees with the provision of the civil service law.