Czech president writes to Estonia’s counterpart to set right Russia, Baltic’s remarks

May 27, 2009 at 4:54 pm 1 comment

The Czech President Vaclav Klaus has responded to statement made by the President of Estonia Mr Ilves’ statement to his interview to the Czech paper Lidove Noviny.  In this interview Mr Klaus mentioned Russia and the Baltic States and was misinterpreted as saying that the focus should be made on Russia rather than European Union (EU) member-states, such as Lithuania or Estonia.  I do not know how Mr Ilves responded but the President of Lithuania Mr Adamkus was disappointed with his Czech counterpart statement.

However, the Czech President Klaus have written a letter of explanation to the Estonian President regarding this misunderstanding.  Read the letter bellow.  However,I am not sure if Mr Klaus after this letter will not be obliged to write apologetic letter to the Latvian President Zetlers…   

Esteemed Mr President,

I am writing in response to your remarks that were reported by the AFP news agency and were to comment on my interview for Lidove Noviny of 16 May 2009. I know that the media frequently distort and misinterpret statements by both of us. However, it is very important to me that we should know each other’s authentic views and that we find the maximum possible degree of mutual understanding.

In the aforementioned interview for the Czech daily Lidove Noviny, I replied as follows to a question concerning Russia as a threat to Central Europe: “I do not view Russia as a threat, I view Russia as a big, strong, ambitious state and one definitely needs to be more on guard vis-à-vis such a big, strong, and ambitious state than vis-à-vis the small Estonia or Lithuania, to make a random comparison.”

I have never divided countries into “important and less important” ones and I did not do so in the aforementioned citation, either. I find it therefore difficult to believe that you actually read my statement before reacting to it in the media.

I am not demonizing Russia. There is no doubt that it is a big, strong, and ambitious state. And there should not be any doubt either about the fact that the Czech Republic ought to be “more on guard” vis-à-vis that country than, for instance, vis-à-vis Estonia, which we consider a close and very friendly country. I am convinced that for Estonia, too, Russia is a country, vis-à-vis which it is “on guard” to a greater extent than, for instance, vis-à-vis the neighbouring Latvia or vis-à-vis the Czech Republic.

I would like to stress that I consider Estonia the Czech Republic’s important partner. I am confident that we both will have an opportunity to contribute to a further reinforcement of relations between our countries and I want to assure you that I care very much about good Czech-Estonian relations. It is also for this reason that I decided to write this personal letter to you.

With friendly greetings,

Vaclav Klaus


Entry filed under: Baltic States, Central Europe, Estonia, EU, Latvia, Lithuania, Northern Europe, Politics, Russia.

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