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    Former president of the Czech Republic Vaclav Klaus

    Russia-West Tensions Counterproductive for All Parties - Ex-Czech President

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    Former Czech President Vaclav Klaus stated that he would be very much in favor of decreasing the level of tensions between East and West, between Russia and the US and Western Europe.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Current tensions between Russian and the Western world are not in the interest of any country, and whether US President Donald Trump helps ease them still remains to be seen, former Czech President Vaclav Klaus told Sputnik on Thursday.

    "I would be very much in favor of decreasing the level of tensions between East and West, between Russia and the US and Western Europe. This [tension] is in nobody's interests, and definitely it is not in the interest of small Eastern European countries like the Czech Republic. So I hope that reasonable politicians will finally do something positive," Klaus said on the sidelines of the Gaidar Forum, a platform for discussions on economic policies for influential members of the Russian and international financial community, in Moscow.

    At the same time, Klaus added that it was premature to give prognosis on Trump's influence on the development of the relationships between Russia and West until at least the inauguration speech on January 20.

    "I suppose that the inauguration speech will be the first real thing which we should take seriously into consideration," the former Czech president, who headed the country in 2003-2013, suggested.

    A journalist writes a material as she watches a live telecast of the U.S. presidential election standing at portraits of U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Union Jack pub in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016
    © AP Photo / Alexander Zemlianichenko
    Klaus also said that EU problems could only be solved through structural changes.

    "I'm afraid small steps, small changes in Europe will not change the substance of problems of the EU… There must be the fundamental system change, change of the whole paradigm of thinking and behaving," he stated.

    The relations between Moscow and the West soured after Washington, Brussels and their allies accused Russia of fueling tensions in eastern Ukraine and introduced a series of sanctions against Russia as a punitive measure. Moscow denied any involvement in the Ukrainian conflict and introduced counter-sanctions.

    The latest sanctions were proposed by the United States as a retaliation for Russia's alleged meddling in US presidential elections, a claim that Moscow has repeatedly denied.


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