Credit: Vláda České republiky

Czech Politicians and Commentators Respond To Fiala’s Visit To The White House

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Monday’s visit by Czech PM Petr Fiala and the heads of all three Czech secret services to the CIA headquarters, and Fiala’s visit to the White House, are proof of the Czech Republic’s high reputation in the world and the high level of bilateral relations, Czech government coalition representatives have told CTK.

Chamber of Deputies Speaker Marketa Pekarova Adamova (TOP 09) said Czech intelligence officers have been doing excellent work for a long time. It was thanks to their efforts, she told CTK, the attackers behind the explosion of an ammunition depot in Vrbetice [in 2014] were discovered, and that a recent Russian influence operation aimed at influencing the European elections was uncovered.

While government politicians have been quick to stress the importance of Fiala’s (ODS) visit to the White House, opposition politicians have mostly not commented on it. ANO’s first deputy chair Karel Havlicek wrote on Twitter (styled as ‘X’) that Fiala continues to deepen relations with the US.

“I remember that five years ago we were defended there as a regional leader, an innovative and economically successful country that inspires, among other things, in the field of artificial intelligence. Today, we are seen as a country that is significantly helping Ukraine,” he wrote, adding images from a meeting between former Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) and former President Donald Trump.

According to Mayors and Independents (STAN) chairman and Interior Minister Vit Rakusan, Fiala’s trip is a confirmation of the long-standing and stable alliance between the Czech Republic and the US, which in the area of security and military cooperation is now manifested in joint support for Ukraine. “I believe that the Czech ‘arms initiative’ will be an inspiration also for US legislators in their decision on further assistance to Ukraine,” Rakusan wrote to CTK yesterday.

Pirate chairman and Czech Deputy PM Ivan Bartos said Fiala’s visit to the White House is a confirmation of the excellent foreign policy and excellent relations with the USA. “Today the Czech Republic is helping to build a barrier against Russian imperialism in Europe and the US knows it well, which is why they appreciate us not only for the Czech munitions initiative,” he told CTK.

Veronika Vrecionova, an ODS MEP, said that the Czech Republic is playing in the high diplomatic league under Fiala’s leadership. “The United States knows very well how much we have contributed to Ukraine’s ability to defend itself against monstrous Russian aggression,” she wrote on Twitter.

The significance of Fiala’s US visit is great, especially given the important role the Czech Republic is playing in helping embattled Ukraine, said Josef Mlejnek, a political scientist at the Faculty of Social Sciences of Charles University (FSV UK). “Unfortunately, the outcome is not entirely up to Peter Fiala, because further US aid to Ukraine now depends mainly on the attitude of (some) US Republicans,” Mlejnek wrote to CTK.

Discussions between foreign statesmen and the CIA director are not entirely common, but neither are they entirely exceptional, according to Vojtech Bahensky, a security expert at the Association for International Affairs and FSV UK.

It is important for Prague to maintain good relations and mutual trust in the area of intelligence, Bahensky told CTK; the Czech Republic depends to a large extent on intelligence cooperation with the United States, as it does not have its own capacity to monitor all areas of the world.

US President Biden welcomed Fiala to the White House’s Oval Office late on Monday evening CEST. Earlier on Monday, Fiala spoke with CIA Director William Burns about security cooperation. He was accompanied by Michal Koudelka, director of the Czech civilian counterintelligence service (BIS), the head of the Military Intelligence Jan Beroun, and the civilian intelligence (UZSI) Vladimir Posolda.

BIS is authorised by the government to cooperate with more than 100 intelligence services from all over the world. The main areas of cooperation are counter-terrorism, counter-intelligence, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, cyber security, and protection of classified information, according to BIS’s recent annual report.

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