Bill Clinton (1992), Official White House photo, Library of Congress.

Bill Clinton, Former US President, Scheduled to Visit Prague in March

Former US President Bill Clinton will come to Prague in March and be the main speaker at the conference Our Security Cannot Be Taken for Granted, which will mark the 25 years of Czech membership of NATO, the organising Jagello 2000 association told CTK today.

The conference will be held at the Spanish Hall of Prague Castle on March 12. Apart from Clinton, former NATO Secretary General George Robertson, Czech President Petr Pavel and Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala will be among the speakers.

Clinton was US president from 1993 to 2001. He has been invited to Czechia by President Pavel. He visited Prague several times, for the first time as a 24-year-old student in 1970. In January 1994, President Clinton said during his meeting with then Czech President Vaclav Havel that the question is not whether NATO would be enlarged, but when it would happen. In October 2021, he attended the Forum 2000 international conference in Prague and in November 2005 he took part in a meeting of the Club of Madrid, a forum of former heads of state and government. In December 2011, Clinton attended the state funeral of Vaclav Havel.

The conference organisers pointed out that at the beginning of his first term in office, Clinton outlined for the first time in history a vision of a Europe without conflict, undivided and democratic. Ensuring the freedom of Europe by inviting the democracies of Central and Eastern Europe to join NATO was a key point of his vision, and the success of the March 1999 enlargement of the transatlantic alliance to include the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary was a historic step towards its realisation, they said.

The organisers said the 11th conference Our Security Cannot Be Taken for Granted wants not only to assess the 25 years of Czechia in NATO but also focus on the future of the Alliance, founded 75 years ago, in the context of the dynamic evolution of the security environment and threats.

The speakers at the conference will also include Czech Defence Minister Jana Cernochova (Civic Democrats, ODS) and Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky (Pirates). Czech opposition representatives will participate in the traditional political discussion, namely ANO deputy chairman Karel Havlicek and Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) leader Tomio Okamura.

Police President Martin Vondrasek and firefighting corps chief Vladimir Vlcek will address the topic of linking external and internal security. Government commissioner for national security Tomas Pojar and Chief of Staff Karel Rehka will discuss the future of NATO.

Czechia joined NATO on March 12, 1999, together with Poland and Hungary. According to an opinion poll carried by CVVM institute whose results were published last September, two-thirds of Czechs are satisfied with NATO membership of their country and one-fourth of the population is dissatisfied with it.

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