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Czech President Chickens out in the End. Will Not Attend Moscow Victory Day Parade

Has bowed to pressure from the government. Will be in Moscow on May 9th but instead of attending the victory day parade with 25 other world leaders will be laying a wreath for the Soviet war dead

This article originally appeared in Ceske Noviny

When the parade is held, he will meet Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, Ovcacek said.

This is Zeman's sovereign and independent decision that was not connected with the criticism of his trip to Russia, he added.

Zeman and Fico agreed on their bilateral meeting on Thursday, Ovcacek said.

Within the celebrations of Victory, Zeman will at first go to Poland on May 7, he added.

At the invitation of Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski, he will see Westerplatte, the peninsula near Gdansk where World War Two started by Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, Ovcacek said.

On May 8, the Czech national holiday, Zeman will take part in the traditional commemorative act at the Prague Vitkov Hill and he will name new generals at Prague Castle, the seat of presidency, he added.

In the evening of May 8, Zeman will fly to Moscow and on the following day, he will honour the Red Army war dead, Ovcacek said.

He said the Moscow meeting with Fico was evidence of the two countries' excellent relations and a symbolic reference to the Red Army having liberated both Czechs and Slovaks in 1945, he added.

Zeman's trip to Moscow came under criticism because he is to take part in the celebration alongside representatives of "totalitarian murderous regimes" such as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Most Western leaders boycott the solemn act over Russia's annexation of Crimean and support for separatists in Ukraine.

Zeman´s decision on Moscow trip is compromise - ForMin

Czech President Milos Zeman´s decision not to attend the planned military parade to mark the 70th annivearsry of the end of World War Two in Moscow in May is a manifestation of an effort to reach a compromise with the government, Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoraled said today.

"I consider the step taken by the Presidential Office a kind of expression of the effort to find a compromise," Zaoralek said in reply to a CTK question at a press conference he held after a meeting with his Albanian counterpart Ditmir Bushati.

Zeman informed Zaoralek about his decision and his Moscow programme at a meeting this afternoon.

Zaoralek said consensus on the matter must be achieved. "I believe that it would harm the Czech Republic if we were unable to talk to one another," Zaoralek said.

The rightist opposition and a part of the government coalition criticised Zeman´s possible participation in the military parade. The event will be boycotted by most Western leaders over the annexation of Crimea by Russia.

The government adjourned the approving of Zeman´s trip on Wednesday and assigned Zaoralek to submit more detailed information on Zeman´s programme in Moscow to its next session so that it may decide on whether it will approve the journey.

Zeman´s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek said today Zeman will meet Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico at the time of the military parade on Red Square in Moscow on May 9.


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