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Czech President ready to meet US ambassador if Obama receives Czech diplomat — official

April 09, 2015, 19:08 UTC+3 PRAGUE
The statement of the head of the presidential administration’s foreign policy department comes after Milos Zeman refused to meet US ambassador after his remarks on Victory Day celebrations in Moscow
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Czech President Milos Zeman

Czech President Milos Zeman


PRAGUE, April 9. /TASS/. President of the Czech Republic, Milos Zeman, will have a meeting with the US ambassador in Prague, Andrew Schapiro, if US President Barack Obama receives the Czech ambassador in Washington, Petr Gandalovic, the head of the presidential administration’s foreign policy department said in an interview with Impuls radio on Thursday.

"Like any other foreign ambassador in Prague, Ambassador Schapiro should really find an important pretext for being received by the President of the Czech Republic officially so that he could meet with Mr Zeman tete-a-tete," said Hynek Kmonicek, the department chief.

"There’s no such occasion for the time being," he said.

"However, if President Obama received ambassador Gandalovic in Washington tomorrow, President Zeman could meet with Mr. Schapiro later," Kmonicek said.

Schapiro, who spent many years practising as a lawyer in the US before taking up a diplomatic career, came to notoriety earlier this month when he levelled tentative criticism at President Zeman for the plans to attend VE-Day festivities in Moscow on May 9.

International media quoted him as saying Zeman’s visit would "be awkward" if the Czech President turned up watching the festivities on Red Square on May 9 against the background of refusals by other EU statespersons to come to Moscow in the wake of the West’s "solidarity reaction" to developments in Ukraine.

Zeman responded to Schapiro’s criticism and said "the doors of the castle were closed" to the ambassador from that time on.

"I cannot imagine that the Czech ambassador in Washington would advise the US president where he should travel," Zeman said. "And I will not allow any ambassador to have a say in my foreign travel plans.".

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