[15-08-2008 14:34 UTC] By Daniela Lazarová
Listen 16kb/s ~ 32kb/s "This is not 1968 and the invasion of Czechoslovakia, where Russia can threaten its neighbours, occupy a capital, overthrow a government, and get away with it. Things have changed," US secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said ahead of her trip to Georgia. She is not the only politician to have drawn that comparison. In an exclusive interview for Czech Radio on Thursday President Klaus publicly rejected it, saying that both sides were equally to blame in the conflict over South Ossetia.
Condoleezza Rice and Michail Saakasvili, photo: CTKOnce again a burning foreign policy issue has split the Czech political scene down the middle. While the Czech Foreign Ministry released a statement fully supporting Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and indirectly blaming Russia for causing the crisis, the Speaker of the Lower House Miloslav Vlček lays the blame at the door of Georgian President Michail Saakasvili and, indirectly those countries which acknowledged the independence of another breakaway province – Kosovo – earlier this year, setting what he calls a dangerous precedent. After several days of silence, during which he was criticized for not taking a stand, President Klaus made his views clear in an interview for Czech Radio:
“Once again people are closing their eyes to the reality – and creating myths. I did not make a strong statement because I refuse to accept this widespread, simplified interpretation which paints the Georgians as the victims and the Russians as the villains. That is a gross oversimplification of the situation and I would have to write a lengthy article to explain why I do not share this view”