Czech foreign minister discusses defence, energy security and human rights with Secretary Blinken

Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský at the State Department in Washington, April 26, 2022

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken praised the Czech Republic’s response to Russia’s war on Ukraine at a Tuesday meeting with Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský in Washington D.C. Both heads of diplomacy reiterated the importance of maintaining Ukraine’s sovereignty, while also condemning alleged Russian atrocities.

Secretary Blinken said that the United States and the Czech Republic are long-time strong allies and partners across many issues, noting that the strength of that alliance is being proven now amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“The Czech Republic has been a remarkable supporter of Ukraine in this effort. It has taken in more than 300,000 refugees from Ukraine, making it one of the largest homes for Ukrainian refugees in Europe beyond the immediate border states. It has been a staunch partner in NATO as we work to shore up NATO’s defences against possible Russian aggression.”

Jan Lipavský | Photo:  Leah Millis,  ČTK/AP

Foreign Minister Lipavský responded by saying that Russia’s war on Ukraine was a conflict unprecedented since World War II and an attempt to attack the standing international order itself.

“They do not consider Ukraine to be a sovereign state, which means that they are against the international order. This imperialistic vision tends to snowball. Therefore, if we let them get away with the invasion of Ukraine, we would pay a much higher price in the future, as we have seen in the past.”

The Czech head of diplomacy highlighted that it was very important for states in Central and Eastern Europe to know that they are not alone and that they can count on NATO support.

“This is a policy of the United States that we can rely on. I cannot stress it more forcefully: ‘Thank you very much far caring about European security.’”

Antony Blinken | Photo:  Leah Millis,  ČTK/AP

Ukraine was the central topic of the meeting, with both sides condemning Russia’s unprovoked war, stressing the need to hold the Kremlin accountable and agreeing that Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected.

Collaboration in the realms of defence, energy security and human rights was also discussed. The Czech foreign minister has been trying to secure the support of the US for his country’s bid to take up Russia’s now vacant seat on the UN Human Rights Council and he told Czech Radio after the meeting that this idea was met with a friendly response from US officials.

Another topic brought up by Jan Lipavský was the possible visit of Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala to the White House where he would meet with Joe Biden. The Czech Republic is set to assume its six-month term at the head of the EU Council from July of this year and will therefore play an important coordinator role within the European Union – the United States’ strategic ally.

In the realm of energy security, Foreign Minister Lipavský highlighted the importance of European cooperation with the US when it comes to nuclear energy and liquid gas deliveries to the EU. He also expressed the Czech Republic’s support for US diplomacy in the Indo-Pacific region.

Secretary Blinken thanked the Czech foreign minister for visiting Washington D.C. to attend the funeral of his Czech-born predecessor Madeleine Albright, which is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, featuring speeches by President’s Joe Biden and Bill Clinton. Albright played a vital role in the accession of Central European states to NATO during Bill Clinton’s presidency.