Press Releases

8. 7. 2008 11:06

July 8, 2008: US Secretary of State C. Rice Appreciates Czech Republic’s Contribution to Democracy

Premier Mirek Topolánek today met in Prague’s Kramá?ova Villa the visiting US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Both politicians emphasized that the signing of the treaty on the radar constitutes a major step forward in promoting international security. For his part, the Czech Premier described the outcome of the hard negotiations with the American side not only as meeting the obligations that ensued from the country’s NATO membership but also as making a sizeable contribution to the future of Czech science.  When addressing the media after her meeting with Premier Topolánek, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressed her thanks to the Czech Republic. In her opinion, by signing the treaty at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Prague, the Czech Republic is sending a powerful signal for democracy not only within its relations with the United States and the NATO states, but to the entire international community. In her speech, Condoleezza Rice also singled out the role played by the Czech Republic in supporting democracy in a historical perspective. In this context, she appreciated this country’s support of democracy in Iraq, Afghanistan, Belarus and also in Cuba.

After all, the Czech Premier´s meeting with dissidents from those countries figured among the highlights of his visit to the United States last February (More in an article: Premier Topolánek - The Centrepiece of My Overseas Trip Was Freedom). As a matter of record, the Czech Premier talked about his meeting with US President W.B. Bush also today, recalling the importance of the figure “8“ in landmark events in the Czech history. “The United States stood at the birth of our statehood,“ stressed the Czech Prime Minister, adding that the year 2008 interlinks the birth of our statehood (in 1918) with the Premier´s visit to the United States and today’s reception of the US Secretary of State in the main seat of the Czech Prime Ministers. The Premier went on to say that by signing the treaty, which is an expression of our common will to defend the free world, the Czech Republic will honour its obligations stemming from its NATO membership. Responding to the recent announcement of the status of the US-Polish negotiations, the Czech Premier confirmed he was keeping in regular contact with Poland’s Premier Donald Tusk, adding that “our deliberations (with the US) were also tough and realistic, leading up to the final goal.“

Part of the talks between the Czech Premier and the US Secretary of State was devoted to cooperation between the allies in international missions, activities that were praised by Condoleezza Rice. In this context, Mirek Topolánek referred to the work of the Czech Provincial Reconstruction Team and Czech humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. Both politicians then spelt out their support for the peace process in the Middle East. Premier Topolánek also thanked the United States for what he called its outgoing attitude to the steps the Czech Republic was taking to meet the conditions of visa-free contacts with the US. In the Premier´s words, Czech citizens could travel to the United States without visas already by the end of this year. The Czech Premier and the US Secretary of State repeatedly emphasized the interconnection between the anti-missile defence system and the NATO. A sound recording from the press conference is attached. Other pictures from the reception of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice by Czech Premier Mirek Topolánek in Prague’s Kramá?ova Villa are available in photo gallery.

Czech-American Treaty Signed at 2:55 p.m. at the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Shortly after the signing of the treaty, Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said that the just signed document is part of the Czech Republic’s consistent foreign policy. The singing of the treaty, Karel Schwarzenberg continued, will lead to promoting security not only of the Czech Republic but the whole of Europe and the entire Euro-Atlantic region. He described the promotion of the trans-Atlantic links as the primary goal of Czech foreign policy. He also said that for him personally the singing of the treaty is “honour, joy and pleasure“, and went on to stress the importance of the Lisbon Treaty which he had also signed. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice then thanked the Czech Foreign Minister for his words, also describing the just signed treaty as a key document. In her opinion, the treaty connects friends and allies who are facing common threats. “It also represents a confirmation of our joint work,“ Condoleezza Rice was quoted as saying. She then thanked the members of the individual negotiating teams, just as Karel Schwarzenberg had done before her.

AUDIO: Press Conference after the Meeting of the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and PM of the Czech Republic Mirek Topolánek 8. 7. 2008

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