Monday, 11 December 2017

President makes no mention of Russian threat in UN

ČTK |
21 September 2017

Prague, Sept 20 (CTK) - Czech President Milos Zeman used his traditional rhetoric at the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York this week and he did not say a word about the Russian threat to East Europe, Teodor Marjanovic writes in Hospodarske noviny (HN) on Wednesday.

Zeman contributed to the UNGA session with his classical load of superficial phrases about terrorism and immigrants presented in a populist manner. He did not mention the threat that the territorial ambitions of the Kremlin pose for Europe, Marjanovic writes, referring to Russian interventions in Chechnya, Georgia and the most recently Ukraine.

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, UNGA sessions have not been so closely followed anymore. The times when Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev banged his shoe on his delegate desk and Cuban leader Fidel Castro delivered his anti-American tirades are over. The UNGA sessions are not a unique global political show nowadays and they are mainly important for the unofficial meetings held on the margin of the official programme, Marjanovic writes.

In this respect, it would be interesting to know what the talks between Zeman and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov were about, Marjanovic says, adding that Zeman claimed that the meeting was not planned in advance.

Did Zeman and Lavrov talk about the Russian interest to undermine the trust of Czech citizens in the European Union and NATO? Or did they even discuss some kind of Moscow's support for Zeman before the Czech presidential election in which he would be defending his post next January, for example by spreading fake news about Zeman's rivals, especially former Czech Science Academy head Jiri Drahos? Marjanovic writes, hinting at Zeman's pro-Russian stances and speculations about support he gets from the Kremlin.

However, no information was released on the Zeman-Lavrov talks, he says.

Marjanovic indicates that the Russian threat to Europe must be taken seriously. He says Montenegro prevented a pro-Russian coup only last year, including the plan to kill then prime minister Milo Djukanovic. The coup was to thwart the country's effort to join NATO, he says.

At the same time when Zeman and Lavrov had talks, Russia and Belarus organised huge military manoeuvres along the borders with Poland and the Baltic states, which NATO Military Committee Chairman Petr Pavel recently called preparations for a big war, Marjanovic writes.

It would have been advisable to remind of these manoeuvres during the UNGA speech, Marjanovic says in relation to Zeman.

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