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March 11, 2018 10:39 am

Czech President Zeman Announces Speeding Up of Embassy Relocation to Jerusalem

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Czech President Milos Zeman attends a televised debate ahead of an election run-off, in Prague, Czech Republic on January 23, 2018. Photo: REUTERS/David W Cerny.

 Czech President Milos Zeman doubled down on his intent to see his country’s embassy in Israel relocate from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, saying that he plans to push the move through.

Zeman was sworn in for a second term as president of the Czech Republic last week. While the post is largely ceremonial, the president does have some leverage on strategic matters.

According to Czech media reports on Thursday, Zeman intends to expedite the embassy’s relocation process and has tasked a team, headed by his office’s chief for foreign policy, to discuss the various logistics and operational aspects of the move.

According to the Czech daily Lidove Noviny, the fact that the country does not own any large properties in Jerusalem could hamper the move. So, too, can the objection of Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, who is not in favor of relocation.

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In December, shortly after US President Donald Trump announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US embassy there, Zeman and Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales said they would follow suit. Later that month, Zeman told Israel Hayom that he has already instructed the new Czech government to begin preparing for it.

In the interview, Zeman said: “It was my pleasure to publicly support the decision of US President Donald Trump, who acknowledged Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and ordered the launch of necessary steps to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv.”

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