Czech press survey - April 26


26.04.2014 14:17

Prague - All major Czech dailies today comment on the proposal of President Milos Zeman that the Czech Republic mediate negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, presented at the Eastern Partnership summit in Prague on Friday.


Prezident Miloš Zeman vystoupil 25. dubna v Praze na závěrečné tiskové konferenci po dvoudenním summitu Východního partnerství. ČTK Šulová Kateřina

Zeman´s initiative may seem a probably futile attempt motivated by good intention, idealism, naivety and a bit of grandeur, but it is rather a parallel effort that would break the united position of the West, Petr Pesek writes in Lidove noviny (LN).

Zeman´s attitude to the opposite side, Russia, is more responsive. On behalf of the Eastern Partnership, Zeman does not call on Russia to withdraw its troops from the Ukrainian border, but he only recommends this to it, Pesek points out.

He says it is noteworthy that Ukrainian representatives in the Eastern Partnership summit did not seem to like Zeman´s idea very much.

Pesek notes that Zeman recently surprised by rejecting the planned sanctions against Russia and saying Moscow should be intimidated by power, which was interpreted as a call for sending NATO troops to Ukraine.

This plan of Zeman seemed more courageous, but it was in fact unrealistic and some say he primarily wanted to get rid of the sanctions, Pesek writes.

Karel Steigerwald says in Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) that Zeman´s offer is a new variant of the old Czech illusion that the country can build bridges between the hostile West and East.

Czech politicians who promoted this illusion claim that the country´s central position and a specially developed sense for democracy makes its representatives suitable for this mediating role, Steigerwald notes.

But this illusion is awkward, he says.

The country´s position in the centre makes it not a mediator, but a potential prey. And neither the West nor the East has any reason to listen to the Czech advice, Steigerwald writes.

However, it is the Czech interest to consider on what side the country is, he says.

Alexandr Mitrofanov says in Pravo that the Kremlin considers relevant for international talks only those partners who are a strong military power that is subject to the command of a single person.

He says Moscow is therefore only interested in the United States and China. The ability of the European Union to provide a joint military command is poor according to Russia, which seems to have some respect only to Germany, Mitrofanov adds.

Zeman as a negotiator of peace is ridiculous for Moscow, he says.

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