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Israel to mark its anniversary in Prague under Zeman’s auspices

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Prague, April 13 (CTK) – The Prague celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of Israel will be held at Prague Castle under the auspices of President Milos Zeman at the end of April, and Zeman will deliver a speech at the event, his spokesman Jiri Ovcacek has said.

The Israeli embassy appreciates Zeman’s taking the auspices of the event, to which 1,200 guests have been invited, its spokeswoman Mahulena Cervena said.

Ovcacek told server that the event will be extraordinary and probably the first case in modern history, when the celebration of the birth of a foreign state will be held in Prague Castle’s ceremonial premises and under the official auspices of the Czech president.

“Not only that it is an important anniversary, but the state of Israel is our important ally and inspiration. Common history unites us. Then Czechoslovakia assisted at the establishment of Israel. It is necessary to remember that milestone,” Ovcacek said in explanation why the Israeli event will be held in the seat of Czech presidents.

“It is a personal decision of President Zeman and an expression of extraordinary friendship [we feel] towards Israel,” Ovcacek said.

He said the Presidential Office will be promoting Czech-Israeli cooperation. “We are trying to exert a positive pressure on the Czech government to follow up our initiative in this respect,” Ovcacek added.

Cervena said Prague Castle has been for centuries a symbol and the heart of Czech statehood. Its hosting of the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of Israel’s independence proves “exceptional and friendly relations between the two countries,” she said.

Apart from the preparations of the event, Zeman is to have a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next week.

“This will be at the initiative of the Israeli side,” Ovcacek said.

He said Zeman is to pay a visit to Israel in the autumn. “We do not have an exact date yet, but the Israeli representatives have already invited [Zeman],” Ovcacek said.

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