BREAKING: Czech Republic President Miloš Zeman announced that his country will move their embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 3 steps, beginning with the opening of a consulate.
During a reception making Israel’s 70th Independence Day in Prague Castle, the official office of the President of the Czech Republic, Zeman reiterated his intention to move the embassy.
Shortly after, the Czech Foreign Ministry published a statement clarifying the matter, saying that the fate of Jerusalem will be decided in a final status agreement.
“The Czech Republic fully respects the joint policy of the European Union, which sees Jerusalem as the future capital of the State of Israel and the future State of Palestine,” the statement read.
Speaking at the70th birthday celebration, Zeman said that it was a “great honor” to invite Israeli representatives to the capital. “As you know, this is the first opportunity at the Prague Castle to host a celebration for any country. So dear friends from Israel, welcome to Prague,” the president continued.
The second step, he noted, would include the transfer to Jerusalem of the Czech Center for Culture, Economics and Tourism. “In a meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu, he said ‘I will give you my home.’ The Czech Republic is not so rich that it can refuse such a generous offer. This is wonderful.”
“In any event, I hope that Bibi will fulfil his promise in four years. Then I said we would transfer the embassy to Jerusalem,” Zeman said, using Netanyahu’s nickname. “By the way, I rejected the claim that we had imitated the United States of America. On the contrary, the US is the one who imitated my suggestion.”
Zeman says the move will take place in three steps: An honorary consulate will be opened in Jerusalem next month followed by other Czech institutions before the embassy’s actual transfer.
Beyond the consulate’s opening, which he said would open next month, he gave no further timetable.
In a letter to Zeman, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he hoped he would jointly open the new embassy in Jerusalem at the end of this year.
The Czech foreign ministry says the opening of the consulate and the Czech Cultural center in Jerusalem is the first step on the way of having its embassy in the capital of the host country.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu welcomed the announcement:
“I thank my good friend, Czech President Milos Zeman, for the important declaration that the Czech embassy will move to Jerusalem. I hope that the decision will be implemented quickly. I look forward to welcoming President Zeman here in Israel with the great respect that he deserves,” Netanyahu wrote on Facebook.