Friday, 26 May 2017

Steve King to be new US ambassador to Czech Republic

ČTK |
19 May 2017

Update Prague Monitor 19.05.2017 (11:46): US Representative Steve King, a Republican representing Iowa, has told reporters from news agency Bloomberg that he has not been in talks with the State Department concerning any ambassadorship. Media sources have suggested that the name instead refers to a Wisconsin Republican National Committee member also named Steve King, who is a businessman active in banking and Scouting. That also has not been confirmed.

Prague, May 18 (CTK) - Steve King, 67, a member of the United States House of Representatives for Iowa, will be the new U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic, the servers IHNED.cz and Aktualne.cz said on Thursday, referring to Czech diplomatic sources.

After Donald Trump's victory in the U.S. presidential election, his Czech-born wife Ivana Trump showed interest in the post.

The servers say two weeks ago, the U.S. State Department asked the Czech Foreign Ministry for agrement for King.

Ambassadors' names are only confirmed by the White House and the U.S. embassy to the Czech Republic has declined to comment on the information.

"Such a rapid naming of the U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic is quite surprising because the Donald Trump administration has not yet filled a number of much more important positions," the servers said.

Before Trump was inaugurated in January, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek said he feared the Americans might be unable to fill the post in the Czech Republic by the end of the year.

King' Iowa has perhaps the strongest Czech-American community in the USA.

He is considered a conservative in economic and social questions. He is against migration and sexual minorities' rights.

According to the servers, King has expressed his admiration for the Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders and the French presidential candidate for the National Front, Marine Le Pen, denoting them as defenders of the Western world.

After Trump's election, the Czech Republic was left by Ambassador Andrew Schapiro, a political nominee by Barack Obama, who had a dispute with President Milos Zeman during his stay in Prague.

In 2015, Schapiro expressed reservations about Zeman's plan to attend the Victory anniversary celebration in Moscow in spite of most European leaders' decision to shun the event due to the previous annexation of Crimea by Russia.

Zeman then said the door to Prague Castle, the Czech president's seat, was closed to Schapiro. Nevertheless, Schapiro continued to appear at Prague Castle, on various official occasions.

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