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President Zeman celebrates 70 years of Israel at Prague Castle

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Prague, April 25 (CTK) – President Milos Zeman repeatedly supported the moving of the Czech embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem at an event celebrating the 70th anniversary of the establishment of Israel that is held at Prague Castle under his auspices Wednesday evening.

The first of the three steps leading to this will be the opening of a Czech honorary consulate in West Jerusalem in May, Zeman said.

The second step will be the moving of institutions such as CzechTourism and CzechTrade and the third step will be the moving of the embassy itself, he said.

Israeli Ambassador in Prague Daniel Meron thanked Zeman for his friendship.

Meron read parts of a letter in which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked to Zeman for his continuous support for the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Meron also recalled that first Czechoslovak President Tomas Masaryk had a special relation to Israel.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said Zeman is one of the first statesmen in the world who recognised Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. Zeman is a hero in the eyes of the Israeli nation, she said.

The Czech Foreign Ministry said Czech-Israeli businessman Dan Propper would start working as the Czech honorary consul in West Jerusalem in May and a Czech centre would open there by the end of the year.

The ministry is seeking the possible seat of the Czech centre which might open in November or December, its spokeswoman Michaela Lagronova told CTK.

“Further possibilities of the extent and form of our representation in Jerusalem will be assessed in the future period,” she said.

However, the ministry said this step has no influence on the final agreement on Jerusalem and the Czech Republic fully respects the joint position of the European Union, which considers Jerusalem the future capital of both Israel and the future Palestinian state.

Zeman said the Prague Castle hosted the celebration of an anniversary of a foreign country for the first time this evening.

The Prague Castle is the seat of Czech presidents.

Zeman said the European critics of the plan to move the embassies to Jerusalem called themselves the moderates but actually they were cowards.

He said he proposed that the Czech embassy should move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem already four years ago.

Czech politicians started discussing the embassy in Israel after U.S. President Donald Trump announced the plan to move the American embassy to Jerusalem last December.

About thirty people with Palestinian flags and banners protested against the celebrations of the State of Israel on the premises of the Prague Castle. They called for the end of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.

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