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Archive for Czech Republic

Newsline: Czech Ambassador to Iran Resigns Amid Visa Fraud Allegations

The ambassador of the Czech Republic in Iran Svatopluk Čumba, has resigned this week amidst allegations that he sold 400 short-stay visas to Iranian businesspersons that were recommended by the Czech-Slovak-Iranian Chamber of Commerce. The General Inspection of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had previously examined the Czech embassy in Tehran for possible involvement with visa trade with hundreds of Iranians. According to their report, Jan Kavan and Zdeněk Zbytek from the Czech-Slovak-Iranian Chamber of Commerce issued recommendations to the visa beneficiaries, who were soon granted with Schengen visas by the Czech embassy in Tehran, with the ambassador pushing the consular service of the embassy to process their applications with priority. “True, I helped mediate visas for Iranian entrepreneurs,” Čumba confirmed, denying that he received any money for this and giving no more comments on the issue. (https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/news/czech-ambassador-to-iran-resigns-amid-allegations-he-sold-schengen-visas-to-iranian-businesspersons/) According to the Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček, there is no evidence of visa bargaining in the Czech embassy in Tehran. “We have no direct evidence of any trade [with Schengen visas], the audit report focused primarily on those visa processes, we found some failure and we took appropriate steps in this direction,” minister Petříček said. On the other hand, the Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and current chair of the Czech-Slovak-Iranian Chamber of Commerce Jan Kavan, denies that the embassy has committed any wrongdoing in issuing these visas. Still, in an interview for irozhlas.cz, he admits that the Chamber did send out 400 visa recommendations for Iranian entrepreneurs.

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Newsline: Czech Republic to open embassy in Mali

The Czech Republic will open an embassy in Mali as of January 1, 2019, the Czech Foreign Ministry announced on its web page citing a decision by the Czech government. The embassy in Bamako should play a key role in strengthening cooperation in the field of security, increasing the Czech presence in military and civilian missions aimed at stabilizing the Sahel region and contribute to the development of mutual economic cooperation.

https://www.radio.cz/en/section/news/czech-republic-to-open-embassy-in-mali

Newsline: Czech Republic Considering Moving Embassy to Jerusalem

The Czech Republic is considering moving its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, following a similar move by the United States earlier this year. The opening of a Czech cultural center in Jerusalem in November could be understood as a “first step,” a spokesman for President Milos Zeman said. He added that the move could only happen “in accordance with international law.” The United States riled Palestinians when it moved the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May. Zeman, the most important supporter of the plan to move the embassy to Jerusalem, is expected to hold an official visit to Israel in November.

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/czech-republic-considering-moving-embassy-to-jerusalem-1.6468901

Newsline: Czech ambassador to the U.S. once killed a crocodile with a knife

The homes of ambassadors are often decorated with expensive art, historical photographs and fancy awards. But Czech Ambassador Hynek Kmoníček’s residence in Washington, D.C. is more like a zoo for dead animals. Throughout his diplomatic career, Kmoníček has sharpened his hunting skills. He has served all over the world and has the trophies to prove it: a kangaroo from Australia, a snake from India, a crocodile from Sudan, a wolf from Mongolia. “Are you a real man or just another European?” says Kmoníček with a laugh, imitating skeptical greetings when he gets to a country for the first time. “So sometimes you have to prove yourself. Sometimes the poor animal will be the victim.” Kmoníček became the Czech Republic’s top diplomat in the U.S. last year and says that his time working outside of the US and Europe has made him numb “sudden changes.” “With my previous diplomatic experience, it was clear it is very hard to surprise me,” he explains. “President Trump obviously announced that he intentionally wants to be unpredictable and I understand that for some bureaucrats it could be a tough thing, because diplomats love predictability.” When he was in Sudan, Kmoníček caught a crocodile and slaughtered it with a knife. He learned the process by watching his Sudanese diplomatic counterparts, who he says were more than a foot taller than him. They told him to aim the knife for the animal’s blind spot right between its eyes.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/czech-ambassador-to-the-u-s-once-killed-a-crocodile-with-a-knife/

Newsline: Czech Republic Won’t Relocate Israeli Embassy to Jerusalem

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babi said this week his country will not break UN and EU policy and relocate their embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Babi also said that his country is examining the possibility of relocating their cultural center from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem instead. The possibly of opening an honorary consulate in Jerusalem is also being examined – even though one already exists. Israel’s Foreign Ministry has said in the past that the Czech Republic may move its embassy to Jerusalem and Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely is planning to visit the country soon to try to convince them to do so.

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/czech-won-t-relocate-israeli-embassy-to-jerusalem-pm-says-1.6013735

Newsline: Czechs to open honorary consulate in Jerusalem

The Czech Republic will open a new honorary consulate in Jerusalem in the next few months, the country’s acting prime minister, Andrej Babiš, said on Friday. He added that the government was considering opening a Czech Centre in the city during a planned visit to Israel by the Czech president, Miloš Zeman, at the end of 2018. Mr. Zeman has for some time backed the idea of moving the Czech Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. However, Mr. Babiš rejected that idea in December when US leader Donald Trump announced a similar intention. The United Nations and the EU insist on a two-state solution under which Jerusalem would one day be the capital of both Israel and a future Palestinian state. Mr. Babiš said opening a Czech Centre in the city would not contradict that position.

http://www.radio.cz/en/section/news/czechs-to-open-honorary-consulate-in-jerusalem

Newsline: Romania, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic consider moving their embassies to Jerusalem

The President of the ruling Social Democratic Party of Romania, Liviu Dragnea, is proposing the move of the country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The Speaker of the Parliament apparently did not consult the foreign ministry in making a statement to this effect. Despite the expression of dismay from Romania’s Deputy Foreign Minister Amal Jado. According to Jado, the move would be against international law and would break ranks with UN Security Council Resolution 478 and the European Union. However, Romania already broke ranks with the European Union on December 21st, abstaining from the General Assembly vote that condemned US President Donald Trump for moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem. Romania was joined by the Visegrad Four — Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic — as well as Croatia and Latvia. Dragnea insists this is a practical move since the government of Israel seats in Jerusalem. Officially, Romania is still committed to a two-state solution in the Middle East. Romania is not alone. Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Tzipi Hotovely has a list of ten countries Israel hopes will follow Washington’s lead. On Thursday the Times of Israel published a number of countries included on the list, including three EU member states: Romania, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.

https://www.neweurope.eu/article/romania-slovakia-czech-republic-consider-moving-embassies-jerusalem/