Czech PM Necas: We share Israel's worries about Iran
17. 5. 2012 18:52
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu visited Czech Republic, its closest ally in EU, with seven ministers for cabinet-to-cabinet meeting
Prague - It appears that the closest ally of the government of PM Petr Necas (Civic Democratic Party, ODS) is Israel.
Israel's PM Benjamin Netanyahu visited the Czech capital today for the second time in two years, and brought with himself seven ministers of his government (the ministers of industry, foreign relations, science, transport, labor, culture and construction). Altogether, the Israeli delegation had more than 70 members.
The Israeli PM and ministers met with their Czech counterparts.
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The Czech Republic has never held such a broad cabinet-to-cabinet meeting with any other country, not even with its closest neighbors - Slovakia and Poland.
Israel's key partner in EU
This implies that Israel is a key foreign partner for the Czech government.
Some members of the Czech government are staunch supporters of Israel, above all Defense Minister Alexandr Vondra (ODS) and Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg (TOP 09).
At the same time, the government of PM Petr Necas appears to be Israel's closest ally in the EU, which includes some of the most vocal critics of the Jewish state's approach to the Palestine question.
In 2011, the Czech Republic voted against Palestine's bid to statehood in the UN. This step was criticized by the opposition Social Democratic Party, which voiced its fear of diplomatic isolation of the Czech Republic due to its close ties to Israel.
Israel's daily Jerusalem Post even called the Czech government "one of the friendliest governments toward Israel in the world."
Today's visit confirmed the Czech government's pro-Israeli stance.
"We share worries about Iran's nuclear program"
After meeting with Netanyahu, Czech PM Petr Necas said that the Czech Republic shares Israel's worries about the Iran nuclear program.
"We strictly refuse delegitimization and any boycott of the state of Israel. We unequivocally support Israel's right to defend against terrorist attacks. Together, we share worries about Iran's nuclear program," said Necas.
Also, Necas said he supports a two-state solution for the Palestine question, and warned against unilateral steps that would hamper the peace process.
However, Czech government politicians announced in advance that today's cabinet-to-cabinet meeting would be focused above all on bilateral cooperation in the areas of science, innovation and business.
Spokesman of Czech Industry Ministry Tomas Patak said that Industry Minister Martin Kuba (ODS) spoke to his Israeli counterpart Shalom Simhon for example about support for start-ups.
Israel's start-ups are well-known especially in the field of technology. Israel, a young country with no significant natural resources, is economically focused on research and development, and PM Necas' government would like the Czech Republic to follow the same path.
autor: Tereza Nosálková