Zeman: ‘Only A Coward’ Would Withdraw Troops From AfghanistanČTK
Prague, Aug 29 (CTK) – Czech President Milos Zeman supported the NATO mission in Afghanistan as it is a deep concern of the Czech Republic, he said at the meeting with Czech ambassadors today.
He thus responded to the doubts over the country’s involvement in the Resolute Support operation which were voiced after the recent killing of three Czech soldiers in Afghanistan.
Zeman said that only a coward would leave the mission, which was part of a community of over thirty countries. He stressed that the mission in Afghanistan was the most important foreign operation that Czech soldiers were participating in.
If the NATO withdrew its units, the Taliban movement would take over Afghanistan and plan its terrorist actions from there, he said.
He also reiterated his negative stance on the joint EU sanctions against Russia. Their possible extension should be discussed by member states’s representatives at the European Council, he said.
He said that countries such as Italy, Austria, Hungary and Slovakia have been voicing a similar opinion on the sanctions. This is why he wanted them to be debated and not just extended based on the silent procedure. The Czech Republic is represented in the EC by PM Andrej Babis. Zeman said today Babis held a similar opinion as him.
Zeman also addressed a free trade agreement between the USA and the EU, which he said would be beneficial for both parties. However, he warned that a trade war between the USA and China could affect the Czech Republic.
The president also mentioned the European affairs, appealing on Czech Republic to not accept the EU’s joint climate targets and a higher share of renewable energy sources in the national energy mix. He also criticised the current system of redistribution of funds from the EU budget based on programmes for certain fields. He said member states should be allocated a predetermined sum and decide themselves on what it would be used.
He also criticised the Czech Ambassador to the USA and former Presidential Office foreign department head Hynek Kmonicek for not having managed to organise his meeting with U.S President Donald Trump in the White House yet.
“Not everyone is as capable as ambassador Eva Filipi in Damascus,” Zeman said.
He spoke with Trump after his inauguration into office and Zeman’s office then announced he would meet Trump in April 2017 in the White House. However, the meeting did not take place.
Zeman also attacked Czech journalists in his speech, saying there were, unlike the Dodo Bird, a species that has not been eradicated yet. He made mocking remarks about the press before.
Zeman’s meeting with ambassadors is a traditional part of their annual conference. Last year, he called on them to promote Czech exporters and focus on economic diplomacy.