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Czechs divided over Bělobrádek’s trip to Sudeten German congress

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Prague, May 24 (CTK) – This is a provocation and humiliation of World War Two victims, Communist leader Vojtech Filip said about Czech Deputy Prime Minister Pavel Belobradek (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) attending the 68th Sudeten German rally in June, while other party leaders are unopposed to it.

Belobradek is to be the highest-ranking Czech politician ever to take part in the annual event.

The Sudeten German Landsmannschaft (SL) promotes the interests of the ethnic Germans who were forced to leave Czechoslovakia, mainly its border regions (Sudetenland), after World War Two.

Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek (Social Democrats, CSSD) said Belobradek was not going to the congress as a representative of the Czech government.

TOP 09 deputy chairman Marek Zenisek said the journey made sense because future lied in communication and dialogue.

Petr Gazdik, leader of the Mayors and Independents (STAN), said the affair was a gesture indicating that after 70 years, the past was closed and would not burden the two countries’s relations.

Last year, Culture Minister Daniel Herman (KDU-CSL) was the first member of the Czech cabinet to officially attend an SL rally.

“I consider this a provocation and humiliation of Czech victims of fascism,” Filip said.

Zaoralek said Belobradek would represent his party, not the government.

“Belobradek will take part in the event as the leader of the KDU-CSL within cooperation with the partnership CSU, not as a government representative,” Zaoralek said.

Last year, he argued in the same way in Herman’s case.

“Seventy years after the end of the war, this should not be any shocking information. This is a gesture that the past is closed and we will not let it burden and limit us,” Gazdik told CTK.

“This is in order and it makes sense. The future is in communication and dialogue, there is nothing wrong in this,” Zenisek said.

He himself visited the congress several times.

Belobradek will deliver a speech at the 68th congress, scheduled for June 3-4.

In a speech in Munich in 2013, former Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas (Civic Democrats, ODS) expressed regret at the arbitrary treatment of Sudeten German in connection with their post-war transfer from Czechoslovakia.

About three million ethnic Germans were transferred from the country after the war, following its six-year Nazi occupation.


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