Foreign minister visit focusses on deepening cooperation with Israel, Palestinian territories

Lubomír Zaorálek, Reuven Rivlin, photo: CTK

Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek returned to the Czech Republic on Tuesday from a three-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian Autonomous Territories. The visit was aimed at deepening long term economic ties with Israel as well as development projects in the West Bank.

Lubomír Zaorálek,  Reuven Rivlin,  photo: CTK
The Czech Republic has long enjoyed strong relations with both Israel and the Palestine Autonomous Territories and the three-day visit by the Czech foreign minister which has just wrapped up was designed to build on both in areas of mutual interest. Mr Zaorálek met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanjahu and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and with his Palestinian counterpart Riyad al-Maliki.

Regarding Israel, the Czech Republic is interested in business opportunities in the modernisation of Israeli rail transport and automobile export, and in making use of Israeli know-how in defence, namely radars for the air force, and the health sector. In the Palestinian Autonomous Territories, the Czech Republic has financed a massive photovoltaic power plant in Tubas, in the North-eastern West Bank, which should also provide commercial opportunities. The Tubas Governorate and the energy sector has long been a focus of the Czech Republic and thanks to Czech assistance approximately 30 villages were connected to the electricity grid since 1996. Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki:

Riyad al-Maliki,  Lubomír Zaorálek,  photo: CTK
“We appreciate that very much and we do consider the Czech Republic a good friend of Israel as well as a good friend of Palestine.”

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin praised Czech diplomacy as “always being objective” while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made clear ties between the two countries had long been favourable and would be into the future.

“The relationship between Israel and the Czech Republic has always been one of strong friendship and one of grand cooperation. I look forward to pursuing that.”

Lubomír Zaorálek,  Benjamin Netanyahu,  photo: CTK
Building on the relationship and cementing deeper economic cooperation will now be the focus at a meeting in Prague between the Czech and Israeli governments on May 19. Meanwhile, Czech Foreign Minister Zaorálek expressed the hope that the Czech Republic could also serve the role of mediator between the Israelis and Palestinians if the situation called for it.

“Presumably there are not as many contacts between the Israelis and Palestinians as there should be, and perhaps at a certain point we could play a role there.”