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Zeman to back new Czech foreign policy concept – foreign minister

AMO AMO / Ed. 21. 12. 2015

President Milos Zeman will support the new concept of Czech foreign policy, Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek (Social Democrats, CSSD) said in a debate staged by the Association for International Questions today.

Zaoralek said parliament was expected to approve the report by the end of July.

He said Zeman had recently read the draft concept and decided to back it.

Zeman said the concept was good, Zaoralek said.

He said he was convinced the concept would be passed by the government without any major disputes.

Zaoralek said he had already received some comments from the coalition partners.

There is not full agreement on some of its points, but this should not prevent the concept from being endorsed, he added.

Zaoralek said he wanted to unveil the finished concept, passed by the government and both parliamentary houses, to ambassadors in August.

The concept is based on five fundamental points: security and changed security situation, the question of the Czech Republic’s economic prosperity, the values the country claims, the service to its citizens in the consular sphere and care for the Czech Republic as a good trademark and good name.

The change in the foreign policy concept was associated with change in the security situation due to the conflict in Ukraine and the rise of Islamic State, while some past objectives, such as EU entry, no longer existed, Zaoralek said.

The draft was criticised for not laying sufficient stress on human rights.

Zaoralek has dismissed the notion.

He said the new foreign policy concept was not to reject former president Vaclav Havel’s human rights legacy, but was to find a way with which to work with it.

This cannot be done mechanically, Zaoralek said.

The value focus of Czech foreign policy includes its being part of the Euro-Atlantic civilisation area as manifested primarily by the membership of the EU and NATO, he added.

“Specifically, Czech foreign policy is based on the legacy of Czech humanistic thinking, of its President Tomas Garrigue Masaryk (1918-1935) in particular, the legacy of the Prague Spring reform movement in 1968 and the Charter 77 dissident manifesto as well as the tradition of support to human rights and human dignity as a basic precondition of its implementation,” Zaoralek said.

Originally published: Zeman to back new Czech foreign policy concept – foreign minister

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