Czech president Milos Zeman slams EU 'cowards' on Jerusalem stance

Czech President Milos Zeman accused EU states of being 'cowards' in their response to his US counterpart Donald Trump recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
Czech President Milos Zeman accused EU states of being 'cowards' in their response to his US counterpart Donald Trump recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital. PHOTO: REUTERS

PRAGUE (AFP) - Czech President Milos Zeman on Saturday (Dec 9) accused EU states of being "cowards" in their response to his US counterpart Donald Trump recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"The European Union, cowards, are doing all they can so a pro-Palestinian terrorist movement can have supremacy over a pro-Israeli movement," said Zeman, presenting himself as a defender of Israel.

The 73-year-old Zeman, targeting a second term from January and who had Friday said he was happy at Trump's controversial move, made Saturday's comment before delegates attending the congress of the far right Freedom and Direct Democracy party, which opposes immigration and the EU.

Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital on Wednesday in a move that outraged Palestinian leaders, but which was hailed as historic by Israel.

Zeman said he had himself spoken in favour of Prague moving the Czech embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv on a visit four years ago - a proposal which met with a reserved political response in his homeland.

Following Trump's announcement the Czech foreign ministry said it saw Jerusalem as the future capital both of Israel and a future Palestinian state and that Prague could only consider moving its embassy after consulting regional partners.

The EU's diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini warned on Thursday that Trump's move had a "very worrying potential impact" and could take the region "backwards to even darker times than the ones we're already living in".

Mogherini added that "the aspirations of both parties must be fulfilled and a way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of both states."