Prague, Sept 10 (CTK) – Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Czech President Milos Zeman debated primarily the danger of Islamic State (IS) at their meeting at Prague Castle, the presidential seat, Thursday, Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek has told CTK.

At separate meetings with lower house chairman Jan Hamacek (senior government Social Democrats, CSSD) and Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky (ANO), Stoltenberg touched upon NATO’s role in the solution to the refugee crisis and the Czech military budget.

As expected, Stoltenberg and Zeman focused on terrorism issues.

“The fundamental topic of a constructive and friendly meeting was the threat that Islamic State poses,” Ovcacek said.

He added that Zeman had also talked about his proposal for the formation of joint international anti-terrorist forces.

According to previous information, Zeman wants to submit the proposal for the unit to operate under the aegis of the U.N. Security Council at the U.N. General Assembly later this month.

However, the meeting at Prague Castle was accompanied by an unfortunate incident since the U.N. flag was hoisted in the reception hall instead of the NATO flag. Ovcacek said this mistake, caused by a Prague Castle employee, would be investigated.

Stoltenberg agreed with Hamacek Thursday that an immediate solution to the current migration crisis was up to the European Union, not up to NATO.

“We have agreed that an immediate solution to the problems with refugees is rather in the EU agenda and not so much up to NATO. However, NATO plays a key role in the dealing with long-term issues, such as the creation of stability in the belt around Europe, either in northern Africa or in the Middle East,” Hamacek told reporters.

Stoltenberg discussed the same issue with Stropnicky.

“We have talked about the division of labour between NATO and the EU,” Stropnicky said.

“NATO perceives its role as trying to provide help in particular epicentres, which is a long-term task. It helps the Iraqi military, is present in Afghanistan and will probably stay there in some form. Those are the activities in which NATO can help and is helping,” he added.

NATO is active in this respect as its member states are involved in the coalition against Islamic State, Hamacek pointed out.

According to Hamacek, the main problem lies in Syria. In this connection, he and Stoltenberg debated the role of Russia in Syria.

“The only possible solution is a political one, which, however, cannot do without some form of consultations and cooperation with Russia and other protagonists in the world security policy,” Hamacek added.

The negotiations should take place mainly in the U.N. Security Council, he noted.

“If Russia decided to play a constructive role, for instance, in the case of Syria, is could help in other problematic areas, such as Ukraine,” he said.

Hamacek also informed Stoltenberg about the agreement of the government coalition parties, the CSSD, ANO and Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), to gradually increase the defence budget to 1.4 percent of GDP. Stoltenberg appreciated this effort.

Hamacek at the same time recalled that the Czech Republic would still be far from the recommended level of 2 percent of GDP for defence.

“I am glad he [Stoltenberg) has noticed that our budget has started rising from the bottom and continues in this trend. We have also talked about the importance of having clear budget outlooks,” he added.

Stoltenberg has been in the Czech Republic since Wednesday.

During his visit to Prague, Stoltenberg met soldiers of the U.S. convoy that is crossing the Czech Republic on the way to an exercise in Hungary.

On Wednesday, he had a meeting with a government delegation led by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. They talked about NATO’s further course, immigration and Europe’s reaction to it.