Prague - Uzbekistan today asked Czech representatives to postpone the visit of Uzbek President Islam Karimov to Prague because the Czech prime minister and other ministers apologised from the planned meeting with him, Czech President Milos Zeman´s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek told CTK.
Uzbekistán požádal Hrad o odložení návštěvy prezidenta Islama Karimova (na archivním snímku). Ze setkání s ním se omluvili premiér Bohuslav Sobotka, ministři i vedení hlavního města. Kontroverzní státník měl do Prahy přijet 20. února. ČTK/AP Alexander Zemlianichenko
Karimov´s visit was originally scheduled for February 20.
Five of the six ministers who were to meet Karimov apologised from the meeting and the planned lunch with Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) could not be organised either, Ovcacek said.
He said Uzbekistan asked for the postponement both in Tashkent and in Prague.
The top politicians of both countries should sign several bilateral agreements, including economic cooperation.
Ovcacek said lower officials would sign these documents so that Czech firms can made deals worth some 15 billion crowns.
Nongovernmental organisations that consider Karimov a dictator who introduced a repressive regime in Uzbekistan protested against Karimov´s official visit to the Czech Republic.
The People in Need humanitarian organisation called on Zeman earlier this week to withdraw the invitation.
Zeman said in reaction that Karimov was invited to Prague by former Czech president Vaclav Klaus and he said he hoped People in Need would be "more informed and less hypocritical."
People in Need addressed Zeman on behalf of 30 world and Czech NGOs focusing on human rights.
The leaders of the Prague City Hall also said they would not participate in Karimov´s visit.
Zeman's choice of partners for political discussion has of late been criticised by humanitarian organisations. They have appealed on him not to receive Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in Prague, for instance.
Massive demonstrations against Yanukovych have recently been held in Kiev and other Ukrainian towns.