Moscow visit hailed as a success
Twelve years after the fall of communism the Czech Republic and Russia say they are ready to begin a new era of cooperation. "When we call each other friends - we do so with the utmost sincerity" said the Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman as he and his Russian counterpart Mikhail Kasyanov appeared at a joint press briefing in Moscow. Daniela Lazarova has the story:
In political negotiations, the mood was also mellow, although - as Mr. Zeman said - "certain differences of opinion remain". The years of hostility, sparked by the Czech Republic's entry to NATO appeared to be over, as the Russian
President Vladimir Putin and the visiting Czech Prime Minister discussed the war against terrorism, Russia's cooperation with NATO and US efforts to broker a cease fire in the Middle East. The Czech Prime Minister also found a staunch ally in the Russian President as regards the dispute over the post-war Benes decrees. The Russian leader expressed full agreement with the view that attempts to revise the outcome of the SWW were unacceptable.
During the four day visit, Mr. Zeman also met with the former Soviet President Michail Gorbachov for private talks which indirectly sparked the only insult the Czech prime Minister served up on this visit to Russia. When a Russian journalist from the APN news agency wrote that the Czech Prime Minister had secretly tried to persuade Mr. Gorbachov to talk President Putin into effecting "a turn to the left" , Mr. Zeman pronounced "I always believed that Czech journalists were the stupidest of all, now I know that this privilege goes to Russian journalists at the APN news agency".