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Two potential witnesses to conversation in which president reportedly threatened minister heard nothing

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Prague, Oct 24 (CTK) – The Slovak ambassador to Prague, Peter Weiss, did not witness any debate between Czech President Milos Zeman and Culture Minister Daniel Herman about the Tibetan Dalai Lama or Czech state awards at a reception the embassy hosted in September, the embassy told CTK yesterday.
Herman (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) says at the reception, Zeman threatened to delete his uncle Jiri Brady’s name from the list of persons to be decorated on the October 28 national holiday unless Herman gave up his plan to meet the Dalai Lama earlier in October.
“At the reception, I did not witness any debate about a meeting with the Dalai Lama or the bestowing of state awards,” Weiss said in a press statement.
The Slovak embassy also wrote it does not wish to be made a part of Czech internal political disputes and it would not comment on the affair any more.
Brady, 88, a Holocaust survivor, said on Sunday that the Presidential Office announced to him on October 12 that Zeman will bestow a high state award, the Order of Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, on him on October 28, a national holiday marking the anniversary of the birth of Czechoslovakia (1918).
In the meantime, his nephew Herman met the Dalai Lama in Prague on October 18.
On October 19, the Presidential Office sent the list of awarded personalities to Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka for counter-signing. The list did not contain Brady’s name.
Herman then said Zeman had threatened him at the reception the Slovak embassy hosted on the Slovak national holiday on September 8 that he would delete Brady from the list of those to be decorated if Herman met the Dalai Lama during his visit to the Forum 2000 conference of world thinkers in Prague.
After Herman did so, Zeman said the meeting harmed the Czech Republic’s relations with China.

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