Czech PM criticises country's president after US diplomatic spat

By REUTERS
April 6, 2015 22:28
1 minute read.

 
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PRAGUE- The Czech prime minister criticized the country's president, Milos Zeman, on Monday for instigating a public spat with the US ambassador, saying he wished the president was more professional in diplomatic affairs.

On Sunday, Zeman told a local news site he had "closed the door" of his official residence to US Ambassador Andrew Schapiro following the envoy's comments the president perceived as critical of his decision to attend a World War Two commemoration in Moscow in May.

European Union leaders are boycotting the ceremony over what they say is Russia's role in the conflict in Ukraine but Zeman - who has frequently departed from the EU line and criticized sanctions against Moscow - has said he would attend.

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka made clear his view that it was crucial for the security of the former Soviet-bloc nation to remain in lock step with NATO and the EU.

"I would of course welcome if Mr. President's approach to foreign policy and diplomacy in general was somewhat more professional," news agency CTK quoted Sobotka as saying.

The Czech presidency is largely a ceremonial role but Zeman - who was the first president directly elected when he took office in 2013 - has frequently drawn the ire of government leaders for his public comments on domestic and foreign affairs.

Sobotka said Zeman reacted disproportionately to the US envoy's comments.

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