Czech ForMin to attend South African event in honour of Mandela

Ilustrační foto - Jan Kohout, někdejší ministr zahraničí v úřednické vládě Jana Fischera v letech 2009 až 2010, hovoří s novináři 26. června u Kramářovy vily, kde se setkal s premiérem Jiřím Rusnokem.

published: 08.12.2013, 15:35 | updated: 08.12.2013 15:41:29

Prague - Foreign Minister Jan Kohout will represent the Czech Republic at Tuesday´s event in honour of the late former South African President Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, and on Wednesday he will pay homage to Mandela in Pretoria, the Foreign Ministry told CTK today.

The ministry´s spokeswoman Johana Grohova said the event commemorating Mandela, a human rights fighter and Nobel Peace Prize holder who died on Thursday at the age of 95, will be held at Johannesburg´s stadium with the capacity of 95,000 people.

"The minister will leave for South Africa on Monday, probably using a regular flight, not a government plane," Grohova said.

Afterwards Kohout will move to Pretoria where Mandela´s remains will be displayed from Wednesday to Friday.

The Czech Republic will not have an official representation at Mandela´s state funeral in his native village Qunu in southeast South Africa, Grohova said.

The Tuesday event in Johannesburg will be attended by a number of significant world politicians including U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife, French President Francois Hollande, German President Joachim Gauck as well as U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

On Saturday, a video with a conversation between Czech PM Jiri Rusnok and Defence Minister Vlastimil Picek appeared on the Internet, in which Rusnok indicates that he does not feel like to go to South Africa on Prague´s behalf.

"I´m trembling [with fear] of having to go there," Rusnok told Picek off record, but his words were caught by the microphones in the Chamber of Deputies.

Rusnok apologised for his words in a sms message sent to CTK later on Saturday.

"It was not appropriate to express myself this way in connection with the death of President Nelson Mandela and I regret having done so," Rusnok wrote.

Rusnok´s faux pas and his apology have been mentioned by some world media.

Shortly before pronouncing the embarrassing words, Rusnok voiced his deep sorrow at Mandela´s death in a letter of condolences, the French press agency AFP recalled.




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