Paroubek, Klaus clash over protocol of Putin visit

A dispute has arisen between Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek and President Vaclav Klaus over the protocol of a visit to Prague by the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. Just before Mr Putin arrived this week, Mr Paroubek said cabinet ministers would not sign a treaty with Russia at the president's office at Prague Castle; he insisted that the ceremony take place at the Office of the Government a day later. In the end, however, the prime minister backed down and the signing took place at the Castle. The president's office has accused Mr Paroubek of attempting blackmail, while he said it had behaved incorrectly.

Author: Ian Willoughby