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Jiri Dienstbier, First Post-Velvet Revolution Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dies at 73

(This article expired 16.01.2014.)

With great sadness, the Embassy of the Czech Republic wishes to inform of the passing away of late Mr. Jiri Dienstbier, the first Minister of Foreign Affairs of Czechoslovakia after the restoration of democracy in 1989. Minister Dienstbier, died on Saturday, January 8, 2011, aged 73. With his passing away, Czech diplomacy has lost one of the key figures of its history.

Jiri Dienstbier held the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs in years 1989-1992. He played a pivotal role during the transition of Czechoslovakia from a communist regime to a free and democratic country. He was the one who contributed crucially to the opening of the Iron Curtain on the Czechoslovak border with Austria and Germany, to the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Czechoslovakia and to the formal dissolution of the Warsaw Pact. He was elected to the Czech Senate in 2008 and has been the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee since then.

“Jiri Dienstbier restored the Czechoslovak relations with the democratic world. His work earned him a lot of respect both abroad and within his own Ministry and will always remain part of the Ministry’s history”, said of his respected predecessor in office Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Karel Schwarzenberg.

A Book of Condolence will be opened at the Embassy of the Czech Republic, 3900 Spring of Freedom Street NW, Washington, DC, 20008, from Tuesday, January 11, 2011, till Wednesday, January 12, 2011, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.