Czech leaders endorse ‘first step’ in embassy move to Jerusalem

The Czech move would follow the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem. (AFP)
Updated 12 September 2018
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Czech leaders endorse ‘first step’ in embassy move to Jerusalem

PRAGUE: Czech leaders on Wednesday endorsed a “first step” toward moving the country’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, following a similar move by the US administration earlier this year.
In a joint statement, the Czech president, prime minister, parliament speaker, and foreign and defense ministers said the opening of a “Czech House” in Jerusalem in November would be “the first step in the plan to move the Czech embassy to Jerusalem.”
Jiri Ovcacek, spokesman for pro-Israeli President Milos Zeman, told AFP that the Czech House would host government institutions including the foreign ministry’s Czech Center, the trade agency CzechTrade and tourism agency CzechTourism.
“The Czech House in Jerusalem will be ceremonially opened by Mr.president during his visit to Israel in November,” he said.
Zeman, a 73-year-old veteran leftwinger with anti-Muslim views, pushed for the embassy move even before US President Donald Trump moved the US embassy to Jerusalem on May 14.
Trump’s decision infuriated Palestinians and intensified protests on the Gaza border, where several dozen people were killed in clashes with Israeli forces that day.
Trump’s move also ruptured decades of international consensus that Jerusalem’s status should be settled as part of a two-state peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.
In May, the Czech Republic reopened an honorary consulate in Jerusalem following its closure in 2016 owing to the death of the honorary consul.
The Czech Embassy has been in Tel Aviv since 1949 except for when diplomatic relations with the former communist regime in Prague were interrupted between 1967 and 1990.
 


UN: 21 Afghan civilians killed in separate airstrikes

Updated 54 min 46 sec ago
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UN: 21 Afghan civilians killed in separate airstrikes

  • The UN says it is unclear whether the airstrikes were carried out by Afghan or NATO forces
  • 12 women and children from the same family were killed in a Sunday airstrike in the eastern Maidan Wardak province

KABUL, Afghanistan: The UN mission in Afghanistan says 21 civilians were killed in two separate airstrikes over the weekend.
It says in a statement Wednesday that nine civilians, mostly women and children, were killed in a Saturday airstrike in the northeastern Kapisa province, in an area where Afghan forces were battling the Taliban.
Another statement cited “preliminary findings” that 12 women and children from the same family were killed in a Sunday airstrike in the eastern Maidan Wardak province, also during an Afghan military operation.
The UN says it is unclear whether the airstrikes were carried out by Afghan or NATO forces. The Afghan government has not commented on the reports.