Czech ambassador: US sees Czechia as an important partner in Central Europe

In an interview with the Czech Press Agency, Czech Ambassador to US Miloslav Stašek also spoke about a possible second Trump presidency.


Written by ČTK Published on 30.08.2023 12:00:00 (updated on 30.08.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

The U.S. regards Czechia, alongside Poland, as its primary partner in Central Europe, especially due to the countries' staunch support for Ukraine, Czech Ambassador to the U.S. Miloslav Stašek said in an interview with the Czech Press Agency on Tuesday. Stašek also highlighted the burgeoning security collaboration with the U.S., along with joint projects in nuclear energy and space research.

Regarding Prime Minister Petr Fiala's long-planned visit to the White House, Stašek noted that the date has not been finalized, although he emphasized that the Czech Republic merits such recognition.

Stašek, who assumed the role of the Czech ambassador to the U.S. last September, expressed satisfaction with the strengthened bilateral relations, saying that the Czech Republic's credit in the U.S. grew "immensely," and that Prague is now "on the geopolitical map of the U.S." and "one of the two biggest partners they have in Central Europe, along with Poland."

Positive feedback has been forthcoming from both the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden and representatives of Congress, Stašek confirmed.

One pivotal facet of the Czech-U.S. relationship revolves around the modernization of the Czech military. Recent developments include the delivery of the first Bell attack helicopters by the Americans, and discussions concerning the acquisition of US F-35 fighter aircraft are in their concluding phases, according to Defense Minister Jana Černochová.

Stašek said that technical details are currently "being fine-tuned" and the acquisition deal should be concluded by the end of September, the next step being the [Czech] cabinet's assessment of the offer in October. The Congress had granted final approval for the fighter jet purchase, Stašek also noted.

While Czechia explores the possibility of procuring additional military equipment from the U.S., Stasek refrained from divulging specifics, citing ongoing "information exchange with the U.S. side." According to Stašek, the current level of cooperation warrants that "Czechia deserves to see its prime minister [received] in the White House."

Notably, discussions have been ongoing regarding Prime Minister Fiala's visit to Washington, with Stašek noting the complexity of the U.S. president's schedule. He disclosed that Czech President Petr Pavel is scheduled to meet President Biden at a September reception on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

Stašek also announced that Czech Transport Minister Martin Kupka is slated to visit the States in the autumn, accompanied by representatives of companies and scientific teams involved in space research. This visit builds on the spring visit by Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský, who ratified Czech participation in the U.S. Artemis initiative, aimed at collaboration in exploring the Moon, Mars, and other celestial bodies.

Stašek articulated plans to leverage the agreement for increased involvement of Czech companies in subcontracting with U.S. firms supplying technology to NASA.

In addition, he underscored collaboration in the nuclear energy sector, particularly after Czech state-controlled energy behemoth ČEZ's springtime agreement with U.S. company Westinghouse to provide fuel for the Dukovany nuclear power plant.

ČEZ is currently engaged in negotiations with four U.S. companies for the supply of small modular reactors, with potential technology transfer for local production in the Czech Republic.

According to existing plans, modular reactors are expected to supplement existing Czech nuclear units at Dukovany and Temelín in the next decade. ČEZ envisions a pilot project with this technology in Temelín, South Bohemia, with completion targeted between 2032 and 2035.

Stašek on Ukraine, Biden, and a second Trump presidency

  • Czech Ambassador to the U.S. Miloslav Stašek anticipates a U.S. agreement with Republicans in Congress to allocate support for Ukraine and additional funding for Czechia's army modernization.
  • Czech diplomacy is engaging with U.S. politicians skeptical of arming Ukraine and seeking connections with former President Donald Trump's team.
  • President Biden's administration asserts alliance with Ukraine, but Congress hasn't released new funds since December. Czechia requests over USD 20 billion, including USD 13 billion for Kyiv's military aid.
  • Stašek anticipates a compromise in Congress amid budget debates. The U.S. provided USD 300 million in military upgrades to Czechia due to the Ukraine conflict.
  • The Czech embassy is preparing for a potential second Trump term. Contacts are crucial in Czech diplomacy given Trump's position.
  • Asked whether the Czech embassy was preparing for a Trump second term scenario, Stašek replied that his team was not underestimating that option. He said the main goal of Czech diplomacy in relation to the former White House chief is to make contacts.
  • He described Trump's sovereign position in the Republican primaries as surprising and paradoxical, also in view of the fact that he became the first former U.S. president in history to face criminal indictment.
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