Could Prague NATO Summit be under threat?


The tragic events in the United States have inevitably cast a shadow over the Czech Republic's preparations for the historic NATO summit to be held in Prague in November next year. Alexandr Vondra is the former Czech Ambassador in Washington and now the man in charge with preparing the summit, which will bring together dozens of heads of state in the Czech capital from throughout the western world.

"There is more than a year to prepare the NATO summit in Prague so of course I think we all have to re-evaluate the various risks which we are facing. So we will have many issues to discuss. We will have to take care of security issues too, but I think it's really too soon to make any detailed judgments on that."

But there's probably going to be a great deal of fear in Prague about having so many world leaders in the city.

"Of course everybody is shocked, everybody feels fear facing the threats like that, but I think there is a difference if the enemy is using the element of surprise, which he undoubtedly did in New York and Washington, than when there is an event that is very well prepared in advance, so I think that we can eliminate certain threats."

Do you think that the events of Tuesday will change the way that the Czech Republic will look at its membership of NATO? After all, one of the key aspects of NATO membership is that when one member country is attacked, then all members are attacked.

"If you see this wave of solidarity among the Czech public and the statements of the politicians who despite all their controversies were almost all on the same line yesterday and today, NATO is about solidarity and what I can see is solidarity. So I strongly believe that the Czechs are good allies and maybe even it can bring the people more together."

And on a more personal note, you were in the United States as the Czech Ambassador. How did you feel when you heard the news?

"Well I was hurt. You know, I spent more than four years in the United States. I have many friends there. Those places which were under fire yesterday were the places which I knew very well, and of course I was shocked, I was moved, my family too. But I'm convinced that America is strong enough, the American people, to go through this difficult time."