Czech Republic calls for a political solution to crisis in Syria

Photo: CTK

With the crisis in Syria at the centre of international attention, the Czech Republic has joined calls for restraint, arguing for a political solution to the crisis and warning that a military strike could only make matters worse.

Photo: CTK
The Czech political scene rarely speaks in one voice on any given issue, but in this case politicians across the board are sounding a cautious note on Syria. While the Czech Foreign Ministry strongly condemned the use of chemical weapons and stressed that UN inspectors should be given time and space to conclude their mission in the country, it expressed serious doubts that an airstrike could contribute to finding a positive solution to the Syrian conflict.

Outgoing caretaker Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok pointed out on Thursday that increasingly countries are questioning the wisdom of escalating the violence in Syria through military intervention.

“There are no legal grounds for an air strike against Syria – that is the beginning and the end of it for us.”

Miloš Zeman,  photo: CTK
President Miloš Zeman likewise on Thursday argued against military intervention, saying that it did not provide an adequate solution since the conflict in Syria was not a war between good and evil, but between two evils –a secular dictator on the one hand and groups of religious fundamentalists on the other.

Both left and right wing politicians have expressed the view that echoes of Iraq should sound a warning as regards Syria in that military intervention from outside will not provide a simple solution and may create many new problems. Social Democrat shadow foreign minister Lubomír Zaorálek:

“The international community should not give up diplomatic efforts simply because there is someone in favour of sending what they see as a powerful and clear message.”

Former Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg of the centre-right TOP 09 party agrees, arguing that an air strike would only kill more people and will not help find a solution to Syria’s problems.

Photo: CTK
The Czech Foreign Ministry has called on the warring parties in Syria to end the bloodshed and sign an agreement on a ceasefire opening the door to a political solution. Prague and Damascus have long-standing relations and the Czech Republic is one of the few NATO countries not to have closed its embassy in the Syrian capital. It is still serving not just Czech nationals but helping out allied member states. However that could change without notice should the violence in the country escalate further.