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Babiš: Europe needs both Trump, Putin to solve Syrian crisis

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Prague, Oct 15 (CTK) – Europe needs both U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin to help solve the Syrian crisis, since it is incapable of solving it by itself, and the same goes for the relations between Ukraine and Russia, Czech ANO movement leader Andrej Babis said on Prima TV on Sunday.

“This is the key, it is them who must solve the relations,” Babis said in a televised debate, reacting to Tuesday’s Council of Europe (CE) speech of Czech President Milos Zeman, who advised Kiev to agree with Moscow on a compensation for the latter’s annexation of Crimea.

Babis, whose ANO is a part of the government and a clear favourite of the next weekend’s Czech general election, and whom many mention as the possible next prime minister, recently challenged the West’s anti-Russia sanctions and the Minsk agreements on settling the Crimea and Donbas conflict as ineffective.

“The president said these are his personal views. Of course, it is an opinion of his,” Babis said in the debate on Sunday.

He said Zeman’s words met with strong criticism and he, Babis, condemns the annexation of Crimea.

“On the other hand, unfortunately, the sanctions gave brought no effect so far,” Babis said.

He said Europe should progress in settling the problem because it is necessary to negotiate with Russia, also about Syria.

Babis’s partner in the discussion, opposition Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) chairman Tomio Okamura, said Czech foreign policy line is wrong because the anti-Russia sanctions have heavily harmed Czech exporters.

Okamura spoke of the right to self-determination for the Russians living in Crimea and mentioned the referendum in which people in Crimea preferred joining Russia.

The third participant in the debate on Sunday, opposition Mayors and Independents (STAN) election leader Jan Farsky, said he was shocked by Zeman’s CE statements.

“I absolutely cannot understand it if the president of a country, which was occupied for 20 years, says we should swap a state’s sovereignty for oil,” Farsky said.

He said Putin had violated international law, and the Crimean referendum was held on gunpoint. There is no reason to lift the sanctions, Farsky said.

In his speech in the CE Parliamentary Assembly, Zeman said the annexation of Crimea was a fait accompli and that Kiev and Moscow should agree on a compensation, either financial or in the form of Russian oil or gas supplies.

Zeman’s words met with indignant reaction of President Petro Poroshenko and other Ukrainian politicians.

Czech politicians rejected Zeman’s statements as well, saying they were at variance with Prague’s foreign policy.

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