Prague, April 21 (CTK) – The Czech Republic will focus on political tackling of the consequences of the political developments in Ukraine and Turkey when it holds the presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek said Friday.
The Czech Republic will hold the presidency from May 19 until November 15.
Speaking after his talks with Council of Europe Secretary-General Thorbjorn Jagland, Zaoralek said his ministry would specify the Czech priorities after the government discussed them.
Jagland also met Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD), Justice Minister Robert Pelikan (ANO) and members of the Chamber of Deputies foreign affairs committee and its chairman, former foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg.
After meeting Jagland, Sobotka said human rights protection, gender equality, democracy and the rule of law were also priorities of the Czech presidency.
Zaoralek (CSSD) and Jagland agreed that the present time posed many human rights challenges.
“We live at a time when the human rights situation is not easy at all,” Zaoralek said.
“We will focus on territorial problems that are often around us and that are serious in the countries like Ukraine, Turkey and others,” he said.
Zaoralek said the Czech Republic wanted to provide assistance to the people who were driven out of their homes and to focus on child migration.
Jagland said the Council of Europe paid attention to current issues, particularly the current developments in Turkey after the weekend referendum, in which people approved significant constitutional changes that move the system away from secular democracy.
Jagland said the current developments in Europe also posed many difficult challenges in the human rights sphere.
Zaoralek said the presidency of the Committee of Ministers, which is the council’s decision-making body, was an honour.
He said the Czech Republic held it 22 years ago.
Zaoralek praised the fact that the Council of Europe was one of the institutions that contributed to the restoration of the democratic political system in former Czechoslovakia after the 1989 Velvet Revolution that toppled the communist regime.
Jagland previously visited the Czech Republic in 2015. He praised its support for human rights then.