Former diplomats consider the idea of holding a summit with the American and Russian presidents for the current situation in Prague to be naive and inappropriate.
Interior Minister Jan Hamáček began planning the summit when he already knew about the Russians’ share in the Vrbětice explosion.
Unlike the planned trips to Moscow, which Hamáček calls camouflage, the summit is to be a serious plan. “It was meant absolutely seriously,” Hamáček told the News List. Official notes have even left the Czech Republic on both sides.
“Even if our relations with Russia were standard and Vrbětice did not take place, it cannot be called anything other than the culmination of naivety. Anyone who is only a little familiar with foreign policy knows that it is unthinkable for the American administration to agree to the summit in Prague at the time when Miloš Zeman is sitting at the Castle, “said Pavel Telička, a former diplomat and MEP.
The Czechia has experienced one summit of the American and Russian presidents in the past, in 2010, when the then presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev signed a new agreement on nuclear disarmament in Prague.
Petr Kolář, who helped organize the summit, was the ambassador to the USA at the time. According to him, according to the organization of a similar event in the Czech Republic, it was possible, but under completely different circumstances.
“Not in a situation where Mr. Hamáček claims that he is preparing a trick on the Russians, into which he will, among other things, involve the chairman of the Duma and a close collaborator Vladimir Putin by ordering a meeting with him and finally saying that it was just a trick. It’s like rolling someone on the ground, rolling them in the dust, urinating, scolding them and then telling you to invite them home, ”says Kolář. In addition to the USA, he also served as ambassador to Russia and is now the official adviser to the head of the Senate, Miloš Vystrčil (ODS), and sometimes informally advises Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO).
An absurd idea
Former Deputy Foreign Minister and Ambassador to Israel Tomáš Pojar also pauses to consider how Jan Hamáček announced his intention. “I can’t imagine negotiating with Moscow before with Washington. That is absurd, “says Pojar. According to him, the idea was not discussed in a wider circle across Czech diplomacy.
“It was a momentary idea that – like many ideas today – seeks visibility on self or Twitter rather than policy-specific content,” he says.
MEP Alexandr Vondra (ODS), who in the past held the contribution of the head of Czech diplomacy and was also an ambassador to the USA, sees Hamáček’s attention as a certain effort to help the country and himself. But he also thinks that the execution was unfortunate.
“Hamáček wanted to cushion the impact around Vrbětice, I would not completely condemn his intention,” says Vondra, comparing it to the situation where Russia shot down a Malaysian airline plane with dozens of Dutch citizens.
“The reaction of the Netherlands at that time was more subtle. They did not deport the entire embassy. He probably wanted to do something similar, but it was nonsense. He wanted to help the country and himself. But the result is tragic, the result of incompetence and unpreparedness. It’s a farce that gives us the impression of complete loser, “said Vondra, according to whom the Czechia can’t even play with the fact that it is a neutral country.
Drulák: I don’t understand
Vondra cannot imagine a meeting between the American and Russian presidents in Prague, not only because of Hamáček’s clumsiness, but also because of the president and prime minister. “I can’t imagine an aging president in a wheelchair welcoming two world leaders. Or as they are welcomed by the convicted liar Andrej Babiš, “adds the former Foreign Minister.
The invitation of Putin to Prague is not currently supported by the former ambassador and former deputy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Petr Drulák. Nevertheless, he sharply criticized the strong Czech action against Russia in the Vrbětice case, calling it a burial of Czech-Russian relations.