Poche Releases Recording Supporting His Bid For Foreign Minister

MEP Miroslav Poche

Prague, Sept 3 (CTK) – Czech Social Democrat (CSSD) nominee for foreign minister Miroslav Poche published today the recording of a meeting of diplomats in which he said he would not allow anyone to be in the government of Prime Minister Andrej Babis’s ANO and the CSSD who would disagree with his views.


Poche thus reacted to the recent criticism by Babis.


“Poche’s activities are very negative, it is clear that he will not be the minister,” Babis said, adding that it was unacceptable for Poche to behave at the ministry as if he were the minister already.


At the beginning of his 9-minute speech, Poche said he did not think his rejection by President Milos Zeman was due to his views and he thanked for the support expressed by Social Democrat leader Jan Hamacek.


Zeman has refused to appoint Poche. Zeman is against him due to what he called his positive attitude to migration and corruption allegations.


Some critics say Zeman rejects Poche because he supported his rival in the presidential election, academic Jiri Drahos.


The Social Democrats insist on Poche’s nomination.


“I would like to assure all of you that if it may happen in a rather long time that I would no longer be the Social Democrat nominee for the post, I will not allow anyone who would disagree with my views to be the foreign minister in this government,” Poche said.


“His statement that even if there is a new minister, he will still be controlling everything is not good,” Babis told the commercial television station Prima.


Poche said at the meeting the situation around him had not affected the work of the ministry or of the foreign service and “no personnel quakes have happened.”


He welcomed the establishment of a new analytical department that is to start defining the Czech foreign policy as of September.


He named as the first tasks of the new centre the assessment of the assets and liabilities of the planned transfer of the diplomatic office in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the preparation of a dialogue with Russia and an analysis of the situation in the relations with Turkey.


Poche said the Czech Republic should support the entry of Western Balkans countries to the EU and try to revive the dialogue with the USA.


On Sunday, Poche said Babis’s criticism was a part of the pressure on him.


Poche dismissed the idea that politics should intervene in the choice of ambassadors, which was the case in Babis’ previous government.


On Friday, Hamacek said he only wanted to resolve the dispute over Poche’s nomination after the local and Senate elections scheduled for October 5-6.


He argued that the topic might harm the Social Democrat campaign which should be positive. This is why the decision should be clear in the second half of October.


Babis said he did not think his Sunday statement that Poche would not be the foreign minister threatened the coalition government.


“I think that Hamacek will resolve this. I expressed a view on the basis of some statements by Poche which I evaluate as very unfortunate,” Babis said.


“The coalition is working very well,” he added.


Babis said his ANO and the CSSD differed because the party board decides on ministers in the latter party. “Hamacek does not have a simple situation,” he added.