Fiala: It is in our interest to finally halt Russian imperialism

The annual gathering of the country’s ambassadors in Prague

Czechia should actively pursue a realist, value-driven diplomacy abroad, while at the same time seeking out new energy sources, Prime Minister Petr Fiala told diplomats at an annual gathering of the country’s ambassadors in Prague. The meeting is mainly centred on economic and security questions related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Czech diplomats from across the world have gathered in Prague this week for an annual meeting of the country’s ambassadors. It is a welcome opportunity for diplomatic officials to visit their homeland, but also for the government to restate its foreign policy priorities.

Speaking to the diplomatic corps on Monday morning, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine makes this year’s meeting anything but routine.

Petr Fiala | Photo: Office of Czech Government

“It is an event that defines the contemporary international political environment in our region. Europe is getting used to the return of war in its most brutal form…

“It is in our country’s broader interest to finally halt Russian imperialism. We must now ensure that Russia stops blackmailing its neighbours and that it is not the Kremlin that dictates the conditions for peace and the rules in international relations.”

Mr Fiala’s words were echoed by the country’s Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský, who urged Czech diplomats to explain abroad why it is not possible to remain detached on this matter.

Jan Lipavský and Petr Fiala | Photo: Office of Czech Government

“30 years since Czechia became independent, we are once again facing a critical period when it will be decided whether we have the right to exist as an independent state, or whether the security structure of Europe shifts to our detriment.”

Czechia’s future in Europe is dependent on close ties with the European Union and with the transatlantic alliance, Prime Minister Fiala said. He added that Czechia’s foreign policy should be complemented by the pursuit of a realist, yet at the same time value-drive foreign policy.

“Hand in hand with advancing our values we also have to work towards concrete steps that will strengthen our security and economic prosperity.

“As an example of this synergy, I can mention last week’s gift of military helicopters from the United States to Czechia. We would not have been able to secure this equipment without a joint diplomatic effort, but neither would it have been possible if we hadn’t pursued a value-driven foreign policy, helping Ukraine.”

In terms of practical goals, Mr Fiala stressed the need to solve the country’s energy crisis, which he sees as one of the greatest challenges in the country’s modern history.

“Czechia must diversify its energy sources and achieve energy sovereignty. This is also an important mission for you and I beseech you to explore abroad any options that could help our country when it comes to energy.”

The annual gathering of diplomats is set to run until Wednesday. The preparation of an October EU summit in Prague, one of the highlights of the country’s ongoing EU presidency, will likely be a subject of discussion between diplomats. Informal talks are also likely to touch on the country’s foreign policy strategies in the African and Indo-Pacific regions, as the government is expected to soon pass policy papers relevant to these parts of the world.