Credit: Petr Fiala, via Facebook

US President Biden Receives Czech PM Fiala in Oval Office

It is crucial that the Czech Republic and the US share the same values, such as human rights, freedom and democracy, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said at the beginning of a meeting with US President Joe Biden in the Oval Office at the White House yesterday.

Biden said he considers the Czech Republic a great ally.

Fiala said that the democratic world faces challenges, such as the Russian aggression in Ukraine, terrorism, and the complex developments in the Middle East. In this situation, he said, deep security cooperation between democratic countries is a necessity.

Credit: Vláda České republiky

The Czech Prime Minister praised Biden’s leading role in supporting Ukraine. He also mentioned the signing of the Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) with the United States last year and the approved purchase of the fifth-generation F-35 aircraft for the Czech military from the US.

Fiala also recalled the role of the United States in the establishment of independent Czechoslovakia in 1918, and referred to former US Secretary of State, Prague-born Madeleine Albright, as a symbol of excellent bilateral relations.

Biden praised the Czech support for Ukraine, in particular the efforts to provide artillery ammunition for the Ukrainians.

He said the two countries are getting closer, getting stronger, have deepened their defence cooperation, and are also working together on clean energy.

The Democratic President stressed the need for the US Congress to approve the proposed $60 billion aid package to Ukraine. “They have to do it now,” Biden said. The US Senate has approved the package, but the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has not yet approved the package.

Credit: Vláda České republiky

“As the Czech Republic remembers, Russia won’t stop at Ukraine,” Biden said. Russian President Vladimir Putin will endanger Europe, the United States and the world if he is not halted in Ukraine, he said.

The US President welcomed Fiala to the White House shortly after 3:30pm local time (9:30 CEST) yesterday. The Czech Prime Minister arrived at the White House roughly half an hour late, for reasons which were not clear. It was sunny in Washington yesterday morning, but shortly before the Czech delegation’s arrival it began to rain and eventually hail. Journalists were unable to wait outside because of the threat of lightning.

Fiala said before the meeting that Czech-American relations are excellent, and his visit is proof of that. He said he wanted to talk to Biden about the complex international situation, and about the economic relations between the Czech Republic and the United States that have been developing recently and should be given an impulse.

Prime Minister Fiala signing the memorial book in the White House. Credit: Vláda České republiky

Fiala said he considered it symbolic that his visit was taking place in a year when the Czech Republic had commemorated the 25-year anniversary of its March 1999 accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), in the presence of former US President Bill Clinton in Prague.

The Czech Prime Minister brought Biden a framed photograph of post-Communist Czechoslovak and Czech President Vaclav Havel with Albright, taken by Havel’s photographer Oldrich Skacha. The picture was taken during Albright’s visit to Prague in October 2003.

Another gift for the US President was a holy water font in light blue created in only one copy of each colour by a student of the Prague Academy of Arts, Architecture and Designs (UMPRUM), Anna Martinkova, from the studio of Rony Plesl. “It is meant to recall the beauty and dignity of Baroque-Gothic buildings and pay tribute to the brilliance of (Baroque architect Jan Blazej) Santini (Aichel),” Czech government spokeswoman Lucie Jesatkova told CTK.

Prime Minister Fiala attending a press briefing after a meeting with CIA officials in Langle. Credit: Vláda České republiky

The PM started his two-day visit to the US yesterday with a meeting at the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) where he talked to CIA Director William Burns about security cooperation.

Later, he met Czech expatriates, including Jana Kanska, the daughter of democratic politician Milada Horakova, who was sentenced to death and executed in Communist Czechoslovakia in 1950 after a show trial. He awarded Kanska the Karel Kramar Medal for her contributions to Czech-US relations. Today, Fiala is scheduled to speak at the Hudson Institute and hold a series of meetings in Congress.

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