Diplomacy

Czech Leaders Issue Joint Statement Endorsing Embassy Move to Jerusalem

The Czech president, prime minister, speaker of parliament, and foreign and defense ministers issued a joint statement endorsing the nation’s move of its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, The Times of Israel reported Wednesday.

In April, President Miloš Zeman announced that the Czech Republic would begin the process of moving its embassy to Jerusalem by first reopening its honorary consulate in the Israeli capital. At the time Prime Minister Andrej Babis had opposed the move in accordance with European Union policy.

The following month, the Czech Republic reopened its honorary consulate, which had been closed in 2016, when the previous honorary consul died.

A cultural center, known as Czech House, is slated to be reopened by Zeman in November during a planned state visit to Israel. Czech House is to house a number of government offices “including the foreign ministry’s Czech Center, the trade agency CzechTrade and tourism agency CzechTourism,” the Times reported.

Zeman is known as a staunch supporter of Israel and pushed for the move even as the prime minister, who controls the foreign ministry, opposed the embassy’s move to Jerusalem.

When the honorary consulate reopened in May, the Czech Republic insisted the move had “no influence on the final agreement on Jerusalem,” and that it “fully respects” the EU’s support for a two-state solution.

However, Zeman subsequently characterized the move as a prelude to moving Czech diplomatic missions to Jerusalem with the eventual intent of moving the embassy too.

When United State President Donald Trump opened the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, ambassadors from Romania, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Austria attended the reception. The Palestinian Authority retaliated by recalling its envoys to those European nations.

[Photo: President Reuven “Ruvi” Rivlin / YouTube ]