The Czech Republic will seek a united EU stand on maintaining Georgia’s
territorial integrity and assisting its recovery following its conflict
Speaking after an extraordinary Czech government session devoted to the
crisis in the Caucuses, Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said the Czech
government would strive for the EU to unify around a clear plan for the
recontruction of the whole territory of Georgia and make a strong statement
with regard to its territorial integrity.
The situation in the Caucuses has been further complicated by Moscow’s recognition of the two breakaway Georgian provinces - South Ossetia and Abkhazia - on Tuesday in a move that drew sharp criticism from Western Europe, the United States and NATO.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has likewise condemned the move, saying that it fully respects Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity – which includes the two breakaway provinces. The Czech government recently earmarked 150 million crowns to help restore Georgia’s damaged infrastructure and Prague has expressed an interest in hosting an international donors conference which would raise more money for the war-torn country.
Minister Schwarzenberg is to travel to Paris on Thursday to discuss the conflict in the Caucuses with his counterparts Bernard Kouchner of France and Carl Bildt of Sweden. Monday’s EU summit, called by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, is to review the conflict and its impact on the European Union's relations with Russia. France currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, while the Czech Republic will take over in January before handing over to Sweden in July. The Czech Republic will be represented at the summit by Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek and Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg.
The Prague State Attorney has rejected an attempt to get Foreign Minister Schwarzenberg investigated on charges of high treason for signing a missile defense treaty with the United States. The State Attorney dealt with the matter on the grounds of a criminal complaint lodged by an anti-radar activist, student Martin Kadrman. The treaty that Prague and Washington signed in July should enable Washington to site a tracking radar on Czech soil as part of a US global missile defence shield intended to counter the threat of an attack from so called “rogue” states such as Iran. The deal still needs to get approval from the Czech Parliament. Opinion surveys indicate that the majority of Czechs do not want a US radar on Czech territory.
The Czech state-controlled energy giant ČEZ said on Wednesday it had sealed a deal to buy two Romanian wind energy projects which, when completed, will be the biggest land-based wind farm in Europe. ČEZ, now the largest power producer in central Europe, said it bought the twin projects, based near the Black Sea city of Constanza, from the international wind power development company Continental Wind Partners LLC. No financial details of the transaction have been disclosed.
The ruling Civic Democratic Party is putting pressure on rebel deputies after they torpedoed a bill on social benefits in Parliament. The party leadership on Tuesday called on regional leaders to bring the five rebels to heel, suggesting that they should think about expelling members who thwarted the party line. The rebel deputies, meanwhile, insist that they are fully entitled to vote according to their conscience and claim that dialogue would produce better results than attempts to intimidate them. So far none of the regions has indicated that it is considering acting on the advice of the party leadership to expel members for disobedience.
Dozens of rank and file policemen are being trained to serve as elite bodyguards within preparations for the Czech Republic’s EU presidency in the first half of next year, the daily Mladá fronta Dnes writes on Wednesday. The paper notes that the protection of statesmen during the country’s six-month presidency will be an unprecedented challenge: one of the biggest security operations in the country’s history. As a rule fifty to sixty statesmen participate in any one event and Czech security forces will have to ensure their protection according to international agreements.
Czech defender Michal Kadlec on Wednesday signed a deal to be loaned from Sparta Prague to German club Leverkusen for the rest of the season with the option of the loan becoming a permanent transfer, the CTK news agency reported citing the player's agent. According to preliminary reports, Leverkusen will pay 20 million crowns (1.19 million dollars) for the loan deal and a further 80 million crowns in the event of a permanent transfer, the agency said. The 23 year old defender recently represented his country in the European Championships hosted by Austria and Switzerland.
The Czech Republic has condemned Russia's recognition of the rebel Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states. The Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zuzana Opletalová told the AFP news agency that the Czech Republic recognised “all of Georgia and South Ossetia and Abkhazia were part of it”. The spokeswoman added that “Russia [was] not an impartial player in the conflict”. Other states, including the US and Great Britain and organisations such as NATO also strongly rejected the move on Tuesday by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who signed a decree recognising the two breakaway provinces. AFP reported that the Russian president said in a TV interview that Russia was “not afraid of a new Cold War” although he made clear it was not desired. The Russian president added that matters depended on “the stance of [Russia’s] partners… the world community and partners in the West”. He also said that Russia was “ready for anything”.
The Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek has revealed that President Václav Klaus and the Czech government have not been able to reach a consensus on the Russian-Georgian conflict, after a meeting with the president on Tuesday. The Czech president and the government have been at odds over the conflict from earlier this month. The government condemned Russia’s actions in Georgia, including its recognition of the two would-be breakaway provinces on Tuesday. Earlier, President Klaus laid a measure of blame for the recent escalation of events with Georgia itself. Members of the Czech government dedicated to foreign policy and the president were aiming on Tuesday to agree on a common ground on the Georgian conflict ahead of a forthcoming EU summit dedicated to the crisis.