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Zeman warns of crisis, emphasizes economic diplomacy

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Prague, Aug 30 (CTK) – Czech President Milos Zeman on Wednesday warned against a possible next economic crisis and recommended that Czech ambassadors focus on economic diplomacy in his speech in front of the ambassadors who arrived in Prague for their one-week annual meeting.

He called on the ambassadors to do their utmost to maintain the economic development because sometimes there are signals that an even bigger economic crisis than that in 2008 is coming. He referred to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Economic diplomacy should help Czech exporters succeed on foreign markets and support the moving of unused foreign capital to the Czech Republic, Zeman said at Prague Castle.

“Unfortunately, some ambassadors play the role of the creators of world politics… I can understand this in case of superpowers, but this looks absolutely ridiculous from a small or medium-sized country like the Czech Republic,” he said, adding that such steps worsen the relations with the given country.

Zeman probably had in mind Czech Ambassador in Beijing, Bedrich Kopecky, who signed a letter of Western diplomats calling on China to observe human rights. Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek said then the signing was not consulted with the Presidential Office. Zeman strongly supports the development of Czech-Chinese trade.

Zeman on Wednesday backed the Visegrad Group (V4) associating Czechs, Hungarians, Poles and Slovaks, and compared it to the Benelux and the Nordic Council.

The V4 is a useful group that can help promote Czech interests in the European Union, he said, naming migration affairs the key interest of the country. Once a country gives up the right to decide on whom it accepts in its territory, it loses its sovereignty, he added.

Zeman said immigrants from Muslim states were culturally incompatible. He said he expects to be accused of racism and xenophobia.

He also said he believes NATO troops should stay in Afghanistan.

Zeman said he appreciated the good cooperation between the Presidential Office and the government.

Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek, who had a brief speech, thanked Zeman for the mutual cooperation.

Zaoralek indicated that Czech foreign policy could not have been successful if the president and foreign minister were unable to talk together about such issues as the selection of new ambassadors.

Daily Lidove noviny (LN) wrote on Monday that Zeman wants former minister Gustav Slamecka to be ambassador in South Korea. When Slamecka was rejected, Zeman blocked the nomination of Deputy Foreign Minister Vaclav Kolaja for the ambassador in the Vatican. He demands that the government nominate his former protocol head Jindrich Forejt.

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