NEWS

Prague seeks to mend ties in wake of Grexit furor

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The Czech Republic made efforts on Wednesday to repair diplomatic ties with Greece after controversial comments by its president, Milos Zeman, which caused Athens to recall its ambassador from Prague on Tuesday.

Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek called his Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias on Wednesday to express regret over Zeman’s comments, according to diplomatic sources in Athens. Zeman said last week that he was disappointed Greece did not have to leave the eurozone in the summer. He also said his country should join the single currency the moment Greece leaves.

Zaoralek is said to have informed Kotzias that Zeman’s comments do not represent the Czech government’s position. He invited the Greek foreign minister to visit Prague as soon as possible and for Athens to return its ambassador to the Czech capital.

Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka also sought to smooth things over with Greece by distancing himself from Zeman’s remarks and arguing that Athens has been unfairly targeted during the economic and refugee crises.

“I am not in favor of kicking the weakest when they are down,” he said. “Greece has been everyone’s favorite black sheep during the economic crisis and now it is the favorite black sheep in the refugee crisis. This is not to say that Greece has done everything perfectly.

“I would like to add that the greed of the markets, and not Greece, was the cause of the financial crisis. Also, it was not Greece that caused the war in Syria.”