Thursday, 17 January 2019

PM expects communication with president to continue smoothly despite recent criticism

ČTK |
24 November 2015

Prague/Shanghai, Nov 23 (CTK) - Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said yesterday he does not suppose that communication between President Milos Zeman and the government will end over the dispute about Zeman´s marking November 17 together with the extremist Bloc Against Islam.
Before he left for an official visit to China on Saturday, Sobotka said the head of state should not appear at an event staged by a xenophobic sect spreading hatred and that Zeman joined populists with the speech he made at the student Albertov campus in Prague on the national holiday.
Currently visiting China, Sobotka said in Shanghai yesterday communication with the president will continue and that talks about foreign policy are being prepared.
November 17 is a national holiday when the students who fell victim to Nazi persecution in 1939 and the beginning of the Velvet Revolution in 1989 that led to the fall of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia are remembered.
"We have set with the president regular, very intensive communication and the communication will continue irrespective of whether we fully agree or disagree on all issues," Sbootka said.
He said he supports Zeman´s steps if he has the feeling that he acts in the interest of the Czech Republic.
"After all, I supported his previous visit to China. But if I have the feeling that the president is making a mistake, I frankly tell him my opinion," Sobotka said.
"The supreme representatives of a country that has a deep humanistic and democratic tradition should not address a gathering of a xenophobic sect that focused on the promotion of intensive hatred," Sobotka told daily Hospodarske noviny (HN) last week.
Sobotka said by his participation in the event at Albertov, Zeman legitimised the spread of extreme xenophobia and hatred.
Zeman reacted saying his speech was not Islamophobic and that it did not contain hateful formulations.
ms/dr/rtj

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