published: 03.02.2014, 12:17 | updated: 03.02.2014 14:54:40
Prague - Czech President Milos Zeman will stay in Sochi, the venue of the Winter Olympic Games, from Thursday to Sunday, his spokesman Jiri Ovcacek told CTK today, adding that Zeman will attend a dinner that his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will host for foreign statesmen.
Zeman will also have dinner with contemporary as well as former Czech Olympic athletes and he wants to encourage speed skater Martina Sablikova, winner of two gold and one bronze medals at the Olympics in Vancouver in 2014, at the stadium.
Zeman will leave for Sochi on Thursday. On the same day representatives of the Czech branch of Amnesty International (AI) will hand a petition with thousands of signatures protesting against Russia´s repressive legislation to the Russian embassy in Prague.
Zeman said previously he is convinced that politics and human rights should not mingle with the Olympic Games.
On Friday, Zeman will attend the Games opening ceremony. On Saturday, accompanied by his wife Ivana, he will participate in the opening of the Czech House in Sochi. On Sunday, he will visit the Olympic village to meet Czech athletes, Ovcacek said.
Prague Archbishop Dominik Duka will be staying in Sochi at the same time. He will give his blessing to the athletes.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka will not go to Sochi. Education, Youth and Sports Minister Marcel Chladek will be the only Czech minister to represent the government on February 19-24. Other ministers said they are busy in their new posts to which they were appointed last week.
The chairmen of the two houses of parliament, Jan Hamacek (Chamber of Deputies) and Milan Stech (Senate) have accepted the invitation to Sochi.
A number of presidents will not visit the Olympics in protest at the state of human rights in Russia.
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