Credit: Tomas Fongus /

Slovak President Pellegrini Makes First Foreign Visit To Prague

Slovak President Peter Pellegrini began his visit to the Czech Republic this morning by paying tribute to the victims of the mass shooting at the Charles University Faculty of Arts on Jan Palach Square in Prague centre.

Last 21 December, 14 people, including students and teachers, were killed and 25 injured by a faculty student who killed himself after the shooting.

Pellegrini today laid a wreath at a temporary memorial unveiled by university representatives last Friday. He then spoke briefly with Charles University Rector Milena Kralickova and Faculty of Arts Dean Eva Leheckova.

Pellegrini laid a wreath at a memorial for the victims of the Charles University shooting. Credit: Peter Pellegrini, via Facebook

Later today, Pellegrini will discuss the current political situation and bilateral relations with his Czech counterpart Petr Pavel. According to the Czech Presidential Office, the visit is intended to confirm the exceptionally close bilateral relations between the two countries despite disagreement on some foreign policy issues.

The Slovak president, who took office in mid-June, is in the Czech Republic for his first foreign visit after taking office, which Czech and Slovak presidents traditionally pay to each other’s countries. Two weeks ago, outgoing President Zuzana Caputova said goodbye with a visit to Prague.

Pavel is meeting Pellegrini at Prague Castle this morning; in addition to the current political situation, they will discuss relations between the two countries.

In the afternoon, the Slovak president is due to meet Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) to discuss the development of defence and defence-industrial cooperation, energy security and the agenda of the European Council meeting to be held in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.

Pellegrini will also speak with Chamber of Deputies Speaker Marketa Pekarova Adamova (TOP 09) and Senate Deputy Speaker Jiri Drahos (STAN).

His agenda also includes a meeting with former President Milos Zeman, who endorsed him in his campaign and attended his recent inauguration in Bratislava, as well as former PM and Bratislava native Andrej Babis, leader of the opposition ANO.

The Czech cabinet suspended intergovernmental consultations in March this year because of differences of opinion on key foreign policy issues, mostly related to Ukraine, which has been resisting a Russian military invasion for more than two years. According to Fiala, resumption of intergovernmental consultations with the Slovak cabinet is not on the agenda. Due to the health condition of Prime Minister Robert Fico, such considerations would be premature, the prime minister said on Tuesday.

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