- Miloš Zeman said in an interview for the Serbian newspaper Večernje novosti, that recognition of Kosovo's independence has opened a Pandora’s Box and called the Kosovo deputy Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi a war criminal.
- Zeman, among other things, confirmed that he will travel to Moscow for the celebrations of the end of the Second World War because the Soviet army liberated most of the former Czechoslovakia.
- The Czech president has openly expressed himself on Kosovo in the past, for example he labeled the country a very strange state with a strong narco-mafia influence.
This article originally appeared at Hospodářské Noviny. Translated for RI by Anthony Grulich
The recognition of the independence of Kosovo has opened up a Pandora’s Box and unleashed a dangerous process of redrawing borders around the world said Czech president Miloš Zeman in an interview published by the Serbian newspaper Večernje novosti. He reiterated that he himself did not recognize the independence of Kosovo and called the current Kosovo deputy Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi a war criminal.
The Serbian daily first asked Zeman about his upcoming trip to Moscow. The Czech president is one of few statesmen preparing to go to Russia. Nevertheless he will not attend the military parade on Red square on May 9th. "I am one of the European leaders, who will be in Moscow. We must express our gratitude to the people who laid down their lives during the Second World War. I understand the leaders of those European countries, which were not liberated by the Soviet army but most of Czechoslovakia was. We cannot forget the past”, Zeman explained.
The editor then returned to Zeman’s recent dispute with the American ambassador to the Czech Republic Andrew Schapiro, who questioned the previously mentioned participation of the President on the May celebrations in Moscow. When asked, whether the door of the castle was still closed to the ambassador as he had stated earlier, the president replied that yes. “The American ambassador acted in disagreement with the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, which strictly prohibits any foreign Ambassador from intervening in the internal affairs of the host country,” Zeman added.
The former south-Serbian province of Kosovo declared independence in 2008, which Serbia still refuses to recognize. Zeman supported Serbia's position on this in the interview.
“I personally did not recognize the independence of Kosovo. This is also proven by the fact that I have never appointed an ambassador of the Czech Republic to Pristina,” the Czech president said. “I have repeatedly stated that Hashim Thaci is a war criminal,” he added.
Zeman has criticized Kosovo representatives in the past. Last year, during his visit to Serbia, he stated that building up separate armed forces in Kosovo would mean re-equipping the members of the former Kosovo liberation army (UCK), which wreaked terrorist acts. He then labeled Kosovo a very strange state with a strong narco-mafia influence.