Czech President Milos Zeman issued a sharp retort to the US ambassadors’ criticism of Zeman’s plans to attend the 9 May Victory Parade in Moscow.
In an interview for the newspaper of the country’s legislature Zeman declared the Presidential Palace in Prague off limits for Andrew Shapiro, Washington’s ambassador to Prague.
“I cannot imagine that the Czech ambassador in Washington would advise the US president where to travel. I will not allow any interference into my plans for foreign visits by any ambassador,” he said
“Q: For example, you do not think that you can have ambassador Schapiro invited to the Prague Castle and ask him to explain his attitude in detail?
“I’m afraid that after this statement the doors of the Castle are closed for ambassador Schapiro.”
The President also commented that the Czech government was asked to rework parts of the country’s draft foreign policy concept, declaring Russia as “crucial to the destabilization the security architecture of Europe”. Zeman stressed that relations with Russia needed to be based not only on mutual commercial benefit, but also on the overall strategy aimed at fighting terrorism around the world, as suggested by US President Barack Obama.
Zeman’s remarks represent a response to a recent statement by ambassador Shapiro on Czech TV about the President’s refusal to toe the line set by Washington for its allies over the crisis in Ukraine. A number of NATO countries’ heads of state have declared they are not going to Moscow for the 70th anniversary celebrations of Nazist Germany’s defeat in the Second World War.
Andrew H. Shapiro started his stint as a US representative in Prague five months ago.