Czech government slams lack of U.S. ambassador in Prague as eastern tensions rise

The U.S. Embassy in Prague has been without an ambassador for a year today, and the Czech government isn’t happy. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 25.01.2022 12:19:00 (updated on 25.01.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

Diplomatic tensions are being stretched to breaking point throughout Europe. A Russian invasion of Ukraine looks imminent, leading to frantic negotiations between Czech diplomats and ministers with counterparts across the EU as well as in America and Great Britain.

With the U.S. the chief counterweight to Russian demands over Ukraine, dialogue with America is particularly important. The Czech government is therefore frustrated that today marks a year since the U.S. Embassy in Prague has hosted a fully-fledged U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic.

The last ambassador, Stephen King, departed on the day Joe Biden was sworn in as U.S. President. According to Czech Defense Minister Jana Černochová, the lack of a U.S. diplomatic leader in the Czech Republic is a serious problem.

“The Trump administration departed a year ago and Joe Biden’s regime has not yet sent a new ambassador, which gives some kind of signal. I think we deserve an ambassador here,” she said.

The U.S. Embassy, located in Malá Strana, is currently led by Jennifer Bachus, a diplomat with the title of Chargé d’Affairs. But Černochová says she is keen to discuss regional and global issues with a fully-fledged ambassador. Others in government agree that a new U.S. ambassador would be a significant boost for Czech-American relations.

“It would certainly be better for mutual relations if the United States had an ambassador in Prague. The sooner, the better,” said Tomáš Pojar, an Advisor for Foreign Affairs and Security to the Czech Prime Minister.

New Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský has opened dialogue with Washington, phoning U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken a week ago. The pair discussed the Czech Presidency of the EU coming in the second half of this year, the issue of energy security in Europe, and the importance of diversifying the supply of natural gas in Europe.

It’s thought the American tardiness in appointing a new Czech ambassador is the result of domestic political problems. New ambassadors must be approved by the U.S. Senate, and long-term nominations have been blocked by Republican representatives. Nearly forty new ambassadors were finally approved in December, including to neighboring Poland. Prague was not included in this round of nominations.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Prague told Seznam Zpravy that “we have no new information regarding the appointment of a U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic for publication. Nominating and approving ambassadors can be a long process. The Czech Republic is a valued ally and partner, and it is not the only country in Europe that does not currently have a U.S. ambassador The Embassy remains fully functional and engaged in working on our shared priorities.”

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