Prague, March 9 (CTK) – Czech defence spending will be one of the topics on the agenda of President Milos Zeman’s negotiations with the new U.S. administration, Hynek Kmonicek, outgoing head of the Presidential Office foreign department and future Czech ambassador to the USA, has told CTK.
In late April, Zeman will fly to the USA. He will be accompanied by Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) and Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (Social Democrats, CSSD).
Their presence is due to the topics that are likely to be discussed by the two presidents, Kmonicek said.
The finance minister has an influence on the money that can be spent on the defence. However, the composition of the delegation can also be explained politically, he added.
“The interior minister may be logically connected with the problem of migration and the finance minister with the problem of the costs the Czech Republic is able to spend on its defence,” Kmonicek said.
“This can be also perceived politically as there would be two out of the representatives of the government coalition [also comprising Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL)],” he added.
Kmonicek said he did not presume that during the talks with the U.S. partners Babis would come up with a specific sum the Czech Republic might add to its defence budget.
“This government cannot commit future governments to anything,” Kmonicek said.
“We can say what we would like to do, but we cannot play a game before we know the players and whether it will be a western film or a family drama,” Kmonicek said, adding that the government composition was likely to change after the autumn election.
The estimate of the post-election development in the Czech Republic will be another topic of the meeting, Kmonicek said.
It will undoubtedly also focus on Syria.
The Czech Republic is still keeping its embassy in Damascus, also representing the USA that has withdrawn its diplomats over the ongoing war from there.
“From the U.S. viewpoint, this is the most important topic,” Kmonicek said.
Ukraine, international terrorism and Czech investments in the USA are also expected to be discussed, he added.