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NATO senior official criticises Zeman for attending Rhodes event

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Prague, Oct 20 (CTK) – All public statements by top Czech representatives that are not in line with the official policy towards NATO harm the country abroad, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Czech General Petr Pavel, said on Thursday, naming President Milos Zeman’s attending of the Rhodes Forum as an example.

At the turn of September and October, Zeman took part in the Rhodes World Forum-Dialogue of Civilizations in Rhodes, Greece, which was organised by Russian businessman and President Vladimir Putin’s aide Vladimir Yakunin.

“All opinions outside the standard stream are very quickly projected in the whole Alliance. In other words, when your president takes part in (the conference in) Rhodes, everybody in the Alliance know it and register it,” Pavel told Czech journalists.

Zeman has repeatedly challenged the sanctions that the West imposed on Russia over its annexation of Crimea and the Russian involvement in the fighting in Ukraine.

The Czech Republic is considered a partner who is trustworthy to a certain extent, yet who may move away under certain conditions, Pavel said.

Some statements by politicians apparently harm the country, he said. However, the Czech Republic well compensates this with making a positive impression in many other aspects.

Pavel criticised Czech politicians for their attitude to the migration crisis. Scaring people by an influx of immigrants is the easiest way of becoming popular for politicians. He said a serious debate on migration should be opened in the country.

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