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Czech president slams EU’s double standards on Crimea as ‘bad practice’

Milos Zeman is due to pay an official visit to Russia on November 20-24
Czech President Milos Zeman AP Photo/Petr David Josek
Czech President Milos Zeman
© AP Photo/Petr David Josek

PRAGUE, November 16. /TASS/. The European Union’s double standards on Crimea’s reunification with Russia are a bad practice, Czech President Milos Zeman said in an exclusive interview with TASS First Deputy Director General Mikhail Gusman on Thursday.

"On the one hand, you have Kosovo, where there was the United Nations’ guarantee, but this guarantee was not secured, and on the other hand - Crimea, where the referendum was held," Zeman stressed. "These are double standards and this is bad."

Zeman earlier said many times that the UN had guaranteed Kosovo’s autonomy as part of Yugoslavia and then the international community allowed the bombing of Serbia to take place.

According to Zeman, the fact that he is the only European politician who has said so does not mean that the others don’t have similar views. He believes that "they lack courage to voice them (their opinion) in public."

The Czech president said at the session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on October 10 that Crimea’s reunification with Russia was already an "accomplished fact." He also suggested that Russia and Ukraine could come to terms on Crimea if Moscow paid compensation "in financial form or in oil and gas."

According to Zeman, in case of Ukraine’s refusal to accept the compensation "a European war" could begin. The Czech leader also said Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s decision on handing over Crimea to Ukraine in 1954 was a mistake.

Czech president’s visit to Russia

Czech President Milos Zeman is due to pay an official visit to Russia on November 20-24. Zeman plans to hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on November 21. On November 22, the Czech leader will be in Moscow where he will meet with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. He is expected to address the Russian-Czech Business Forum in the Russian capital.

The Czech president who will be accompanied by a delegation made up of representatives of the country’s business circles will also visit Russia’s Urals city of Yekaterinburg, which will host a business forum bringing together Russian and Czech entrepreneurs on November 23.

Zeman’s visit to Russia will be one of his last foreign trips during his five-year presidential tenure, which expires next spring. The country will hold presidential election in January 2018, during which the incumbent leader will seek re-election for a second five-year term.