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US ambassador Schapiro likely to leave Prague under Trump

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Pague, Nov 10 (CTK) – Andrew Schapiro, the U.S. ambassador to Prague, is likely to leave the post after Republican Donald Trump becomes the U.S. president, as such departures are usual with the ambassadors who are no career diplomats but political appointees, Petr Kolar, a former Czech ambassador to the USA, has said.

Schapiro was appointed the ambassador to the Czech Republic by outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama, a Democrat.

Schapiro took up the post in September 2014. The Prague mission is his first experience in diplomacy. Before, he worked as a lawyer.

Kolar told CTK that replacements of politically appointed ambassadors have been usual following a change in the U.S. administration, and the diplomats expect them.

“After a new president arrives, together with a new administration, they propose personnel changes in the diplomatic corps on the level of ambassadors. Some career diplomats are replaced as well,” Kolar said.

After a change in the White House, ambassadors can either quit pointing at an opinion difference between them and the new president, or it is the new administration that can decide on their departure, he said.

The changes need not necessarily occur immediately after the new president’s inauguration, he added.

Trump is to be inaugurated in January.

During his Prague mission, Schapiro ran into a dispute with Czech President Milos Zeman.

Last year, Schapiro expressed reservations about Zeman’s plan to attend the Victory anniversary celebration in Moscow in spite of most European leaders’ decision to shun the event due to the previous annexation of Crimea by Russia.

Zeman then said the door to Prague Castle, the Czech president’s seat, was closed to Schapiro. Nevertheless, Schapiro continued to appear at Prague Castle on various official occasions.

Most recently, Zeman accused Schapiro of being almost the only ambassador not to have attended the October 28 national holiday celebration at Prague Castle.

The embassy reacted saying Schapiro did attend the event.

The German ambassador to Prague, Arndt Freytag von Loringhoven, has confirmed that Schapiro was sitting next to him during the ceremony in the Vladislav Hall.

Agriculture Minister Marian Jurecka (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) tweeted today that Zeman should apologise for his words on Schapiro’s absence.

Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek welcomed Schapiro’s expected departure as U.S. ambassador on Twitter.

“The no-diplomat’s departure will be a nice present to my birthday in January. It would considerably boost our historically firm relations with the USA,” Ovcacek wrote.

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