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Czech, Israeli governments to have another joint meeting next May

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Prague, Dec 19 (CTK) – Czech Prime Minister Babis invited his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu to a joint government meeting to be held in Prague next May in a phone conversation on Tuesday, Babis told journalists then.

“He promised to come to Prague in May. For us, Israel has been a strategic partner in the long run,” Babis said.

“As a number of our governments have been there, we spoke about our relations. This is an important agenda for us,” Babis added.

The visit by the Israeli government is to be a part of the celebrations of Czechoslovakia’s 100th anniversary.

Netanyahu said he would try to come.

The joint meeting of governments in the Czech Republic next year started to be prepared by Babis’s predecessor Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD).

He spoke about the preparations with Netanyahu at the fringe of a summit of the Visegrad Four (V4), comprised of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland, in Hungary in the summer.

Just like Babis on Tuesday, Sobotka stressed that the previous government had two meetings in Israel, trying to establish the closest possible dialogue with it.

Sobotka pointed out that first Czechoslovak president Tomas Garrigue Masaryk (1918-35) had visited Jewish settlements in Palestine and his son Jan Masaryk was strongly involved in the supplies of arms for the nascent state of Israel.

The Czech government maintains similar relations with Poland and Slovakia.

Babis also had a phone conversation with his Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borisov.

Bulgaria will hold the EU presidency in the first six months of next year.

Borisov invited Babis to a visit to Bulgaria which might take place at the beginning of 2018.

Babis also spoke with the new Austrian Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, whom he congratulated on his being appointed to the post.

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