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Zeman announces Czech Republic does plan to move its embassy to Jerusalem

“It isn’t popular, but I think that it’s the right thing,” said Miloš Zeman, president of the Czech Republic. “In any event, allow me to finish with one sentence: ‘Next year in Jerusalem!’ ”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds a press conference with Czech President Milos Zeman in Jerusalem on Oct. 7, 2013. Photo  by Kobi Gideon/GPO/Flash 90.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds a press conference with Czech President Milos Zeman in Jerusalem on Oct. 7, 2013. Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO/Flash 90.

Adding to confusion on the subject, President of the Czech Republic Miloš Zeman said on Wednesday that his country will indeed transfer its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Recent reports regarding the Czech Republic’s plans for its embassy have gone back and forth—first with indications that the country would move its embassy, followed by reports that it would not.

Just days ago, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis told Radio Prague that an official Czech Embassy would not be imminent.

But Zeman told attendees at a gala reception marking Israel’s 70th Independence Day in the historic Prague Castle that he planned on moving the embassy after a series of stages. “I said we would transfer the embassy to Jerusalem,” said Zeman. “By the way, I rejected the claim that we had imitated the United States of America [in transferring the embassy]. On the contrary, the U.S. is the one who imitated my suggestion.”

Zeman called those who opposed the move “cowards,” saying “it isn’t popular, but I think that it’s the right thing. In any event, allow me to finish with one sentence: ‘Next year in Jerusalem!’ ”

The Czech Foreign Ministry published a statement clarifying that “the Czech Republic fully respects the joint policy of the European Union, which sees Jerusalem as the future capital of the State of Israel and the future State of Palestine.”

At the reception, Zeman noted that no other celebration for any other country had ever been held at the Prague Castle, “so dear friends from Israel, welcome to Prague.”

Zeman did not give a timetable for the move, but said that it would be preceded by the transfer to Jerusalem of the Czech Center for Culture, Economics and Tourism, as well as an honorary Jerusalem consulate next month.

U.S. President Donald Trump was the first world leader to commit to moving his country’s embassy to Jerusalem. He was immediately followed two days later by Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales, who said his nation would follow suit.

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