President Klaus meets royals and senior politicians on UK visit

Queen Elizabeth II and Vaclav Klaus, photo: CTK

Over the last three days, the Czech president, Vaclav Klaus, has been on a state visit to the United Kingdom. In the course of his stay, Mr Klaus has paid visits to Buckingham Palace, Brookwood military cemetery, and Downing Street - and found time for a lecture on global warming as well. Czech Radio's correspondent in the United Kingdom, Milan Kocourek, has been accompanying the president on his whistle-stop tour. He talked to Radio Prague earlier today about the president's programme:

"The three-day visit started on Wednesday, when President Vaclav Klaus and his wife Livia visited the Czechoslovak military cemetery at Brookwood. I was there as well. The president put a wreath at the memorial of Czech and Slovak servicemen, mainly pilots, who died during the Second World War. President Havel visited Brookwood in the past, but this was Mr Klaus's first visit."

And what else has Mr Klaus been doing while he has been in Britain?

Queen Elizabeth II and Vaclav Klaus, photo: CTK
"Mr and Mrs Klaus visited Mansion House - that was on Wednesday, after the Brookwood visit - where they were treated to lunch by the Lord Mayor of the city of London. And in the afternoon, President Klaus met the leader of the opposition, David Cameron in the Palace of Westminster. In the evening, Mr President delivered a lecture at the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House, which was titled 'The Other Side of Global Warming: Alarmism'."

"And of course, one of the main features of the visit has been the audience at Buckingham Palace, at which Mr and Mrs Klaus presented the queen with a special gift."

Mr and Mrs Brown with Mr and Mrs Klaus, photo: CTK
I hear another thing that Mr Klaus has been doing during his stay in Britain is meeting with the Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Was climate change on the agenda there, because Gordon Brown seems to differ in opinion from Mr Klaus on the subject? He believes that global warming is a political issue.

"Mr President, when he talked to journalists after the meeting with Mr Brown, didn't say much about any discussions on the environment. But he said that they talked about the European treaty, they also discussed the Czechs' military presence in Afghanistan, which was appreciated by Mr Brown."

Vaclav Klaus, photo: CTK
"But the president didn't go into too many details. He said that he discussed the forthcoming Czech presidency of the European Union with Mr Brown. They touched upon questions of what it is possible to achieve in the half-year period during which Prague will be chairing the European Union. And he said that they had a very friendly chat, and he was quite satisfied with it."

This is the second state visit in two years. Mr Klaus seems to visit the United Kingdom very frequently indeed. Is he a bit of an anglophile?

"I think so, yes. And you could see it during his lecture, when he made direct contact with the audience and they laughed at his jokes very frequently. People reacted very well to it. I think he is able not only to present a serious argument, but also to make people laugh, which is very important, especially for a politician of his stature. And I think that he has a good name in Britain overall."