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Czech Republic prime minister revises his stance on Syria strikes

Andrej Babiš. Photo: AFP

Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Andrej Babiš has changed his stance on U.S., UK and France strikes on Syria following his meeting with President Milos Zeman on April 15. Talking to journalists, Babiš said it would be better if the strikes were launched after receiving relevant mandate by UN Security Council.

In addition, the prime minister criticized Defense Minister Karla Slechtova and Foreign Minister Martin Stropnicky for their hasty assessments on Syria strikes.

“The problem was that our two ministers were competing to see who is the first to make a statement, they were addressing press conferences. I would like to note that it did not reflect the entire government’s position," TASS quotes Babis as saying.

The Czech prime minister called for sooner diplomatic settlement of the conflict in Syria and cooperation of Russia, EU, U.S., Turkey and Israel, to that end.

To recall, on April 14, Andrej Babiš said the “strike on Syria regime by U.S., France and UK was unavoidable.” He posted a tweet saying the Czech Republic is against use of chemical weapons as a war method, especially when these weapons are used against civilians. Foreign Ministry of the Czech Republic also supported the strike calling it a “clear signal to anyone who could think of continuing chemical attacks in Syria.”

Czech communists and spokesperson of President Milos Zeman Jiří Ovčáček criticized the Syria strike. Talking to Frekvence 1 radio, President Zeman called the strike of U.S. and its allies on Syria “a cowboy project.” It prevents the return of refugees to Syria, which has already started, he added. "If a cowboy project impedes the positive news, it is a mistake, to put it mildly," Zeman said.

According to the Czech president, the West had "subverted" the Middle East. He mentioned the invasions of Iraq and Libya. Both operations were nonsense, added. “An intelligent man makes one mistake and does not repeat it. A man with average intelligence or, rather, feeble-mindedness, makes two mistakes in a row. What can one say about those who make the same mistake three times, " Zeman said.

He added that the strike on Syria was violation of the international law. "I hold the clear view that the armed attack on any country can only be conducted with the mandate of the United Nations Security Council," Zeman said. "There is the only exception I recognize if there is an armed attack on Islamist terrorists such as in Afghanistan. This is naturally not the case of Syria."

To recap, on April 14 night, the Syrian air defense forces intercepted 71 out of the 103 missiles launched on Syria by U.S., UK and France.

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