Sputnik: On Monday morning, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš is going to discuss the issue of Russian diplomats’ expulsion from the country with Minister for Foreign Affairs Martin Stropnický and the government. How could this decision affect Russian-Czech relations?
Kavan: I hope that no diplomat is to be expelled. The last thing I heard from Mr. Stropnický was that this is not the case and that the Czech Republic is going to coordinate its efforts with other EU members. So we’re not going to take any separate actions. I also see no reason for that, as the Czech Republic doesn’t have any tensions with Russia.
Kavan: It would lead to a deterioration of relations. Again, I can’t imagine that as I see no reason for this. On the contrary, I think such issues should be tackled peacefully. If we speak about what happened in Salisbury, first, we need to conclude the investigation and find out exactly what happened. We know nothing yet. I consider reckless and serious steps based on allegations, speculations and debates absurd. Allegations are not evidence and we don’t have any evidence. I think it won’t come to that.
Sputnik: Can you remember any similar cases in the history of Russian-Czech diplomatic relations? In particular, the expulsion of diplomats?
Kavan: I don’t remember us expelling diplomats. It’s a very serious and unfriendly step; I can’t remember that something like that ever happened. At times relations were cool but then the situation got better. Being Minister for Foreign Affairs, I was working hard for EU-Russian relations to be as best as possible because we need each other. I’m sure that, in the context of well-being and security, Europe needs the Russian Federation and vice versa. Such actions as the expulsion of diplomats would only aggravate tensions and that’s not good.
Kavan: People were speaking of expulsion because of there being too many Russian diplomats in the Czech Republic and of the mission being too large. As far as I know, people really were speaking about that.
Sputnik: According to the Constitution, can the President interfere in this situation?
Kavan: No, everything depends on the government’s decision. And I’m sure that Miloš Zeman wouldn’t agree with such decision and, of course, he would give his opinion on this issue but he lacks the authority to change it. It depends on the government‘s decision. But again, I don’t think the Czech Government would take such steps.
The views and opinions expressed by Jan Kavan are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect Sputnik's position.