published: 01.03.2013, 19:11 | updated: 01.03.2013 19:13:53
Prague - The Czech and Slovak presidents, Vaclav Klaus and Ivan Gasparovic, respectively, have decided to award one another high state decorations, their spokespersons confirmed to CTK today.
Gasparovic will be presented with the Order of the White Lion that is bestowed on persons who have specially contributed to the Czech Republic.
Klaus, whose second and last five-year term expires on March 7, will receive the Order of the Double Cross, 1st Class, that Slovakia bestows on foreigners for their contribution to the development of relations with Slovakia, among others.
Klaus, who visited Slovakia this week, made use of a journalist´s question of whether he will award Gasparovic or whether he himself will be given Slovakia´s highest state decoration to criticise media.
"We (Klaus and Gasparovic) internally feel that we may deserve such a decoration, but we will not offer you an opportunity to ridicule it," Klaus said at a press conference he gave with Gasparovic during his visit to Slovakia on Tuesday.
Gasparovic, however, indicated the possibility he and Klaus will exchange the highest state decorations.
"The government discussed at its meeting on Wednesday a proposal to bestow a state decoration on President of the Slovak Republic Ivan Gasparovic and accepted the proposal," Klaus´s spokesman Radim Ochvat told CTK today.
"The Slovak President today awarded the supreme Slovak state decoration, the Order of the White Double Cross, 1st Class, to Czech President Vaclav Klaus," Gasparovic´s spokesman Marek Trubac told CTK.
Klaus could send the decoration via the Czech ambassador to Slovakia and Gasparovic might proceed likewise.
But it cannot be ruled out either that the two presidents will meet once more before Klaus leaves the presidential post.
"We are communicating about the form and place of presentation with the Czech side," Trubac said.
According to CTK´s information, they were to exchange the decorations already during Klaus´s visit to Slovakia on Monday and Tuesday, which was his last foreign trip in his capacity as president.
But at the alleged request of the Czech side, the ceremony did not eventually take place.
Former Czech president Vaclav Havel was presented with Slovakia´s highest state decoration in 2003 before he left the presidential post.
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