Czech political scene split over Georgia
"This is not 1968 and the invasion of Czechoslovakia, where Russia can threaten its neighbours, occupy a capital, overthrow a government, and get away with it. Things have changed," US secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said ahead of her trip to Georgia. She is not the only politician to have drawn that comparison. In an exclusive interview for Czech Radio on Thursday President Klaus publicly rejected it, saying that both sides were equally to blame in the conflict over South Ossetia.
“Once again people are closing their eyes to the reality – and creating myths. I did not make a strong statement because I refuse to accept this widespread, simplified interpretation which paints the Georgians as the victims and the Russians as the villains. That is a gross oversimplification of the situation and I would have to write a lengthy article to explain why I do not share this view”
The Czech head of state who strongly advised caution over the matter of acknowledging Kosovo’s independence said that the situation in Georgia had been crucially influenced by the separation of Kosovo from Serbia in February of this year, and that with the separation of Kosovo, Russia had obtained a strong justification for its action. He said he did not share the view of Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic states that Georgia should be given entry to NATO to prevent further attacks from Russia. Mr. Klaus indicated that this would only further aggravate an already complicated situation.
“This is a long-term problem in the country’s foreign policy and unfortunately it does not come as a surprise. Czech foreign policy suffers from a lack of coordination especially in times of big international crisis when different politicians and institutions in the country speak with different voices. We can, of course, argue about which stance is correct in this particular situation, but at the same time I think that the Czech Republic should have a mechanism which would allow it to reach a unified stance on crises such as this one.”
What kind of mechanism do you have in mind?
“I think that the prime minister, the president and the speakers of both houses should meet before any official statement is issued and perhaps that would help to modify some of the extreme positions that the Czech Republic may take.”