Czech republic to restore diplomatic relations with Liechtenstein
Monday was a surprisingly busy day for Czech diplomats focusing simultaneously on one of the world’s largest countries, Canada, and on one of the smallest: Liechtenstein. The microstate of 35,000 people has been the aggrieved party in one of the Czech Republic’s main international disputes, and only now have the two countries decided to reopen regular relations after a 60-year diplomatic row. Christian Falvey explains what’s at the centre of the row.
“There are no conditions. Look, if this situation is going to be solved at all – which we don’t know - it is only going to be solved through mutual dialogue. So, there are no conditions attached to yesterday’s agreement. The issue of restitution, or expropriation, has stood - and in many ways still stands - between our two countries, but I think both governments have come to realise that a constructive way forward leads through mutual recognition and the establishment of, I would say, normalised positive relations.”
On Monday at last, the constructive way forward was taken and the governments of the two landlocked, Central European states signed a memorandum – a first step in re-establishing diplomatic relations and recognising one another. Milan Řepka, spokesman of the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs, explained where things would go from here.
“The first step is the practical aspect of finding an appropriate time for the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of our two countries to meet and sign a declaration on the renewal of diplomatic relations. Based on that there will no doubt be ambassadors named, at which point it will be possible to begin working on further developing normal relations between the countries, that means closer cooperation in international organisations and for example in the European integration process.”
Nonetheless, between the new-found friends there remains the pesky issue of those 1,500 square kilometres of prime real estate. One stipulation that Monday’s memorandum does make is that a joint commission of historians be established between the two countries to shed as much light as possible on the confiscation row – something that is not likely to be swept off the newly-set diplomatic table.