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Prime Minister Sobotka Visited the USA

The Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Bohuslav Sobotka visited the USA on March 31-April 4, 2016. In Washington, DC he participated in the Nuclear Security Summit held from March 31 to April 1. He also visited Minnesota and California.

He kicked off his working trip on 31 March 2016 by meeting Christopher J Dodd, Chief Executive Director of the Motion Picture Association of America, followed by the management of GE Aviation and US firms investing in the Czech Republic. He also met David L. Joyce, president and chief executive officer of GE Aviation, the biggest manufacturer of commercial and military jet and turboprop engines. In January 2016, GE Aviation and the Czech Government signed a memorandum of cooperation on support for the development, manufacture and testing of aero-engines in the Czech Republic.

He delivered an address on “Challenges to the Future of the EU: A Central European Perspective” at the Brookings Institution, one of the oldest think tanks in Washington, DC.

Prime Minister’s speech at Brookings

The Prime Minister awarded a Karel Kramář Medal to the former director of the Czechoslovak Section of Radio Free Europe’s broadcasting, Pavel Pecháček, and to the former president of Radio Free Europe, Kevin Klose. Both of them played a key role in the decision to ship Radio Free Europe’s editorial board from Munich to Prague in 1995. He also paid tribute to Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk on the 166th anniversary of his birth.

On 31 March 2016, the Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka attended a gala evening hosted by President Barack Obama at the White House. The dinner marked the official opening of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, DC. Representatives of 53 countries and four international organisations were invited to the Summit in Washington, DC. Most of the delegates were from countries that use nuclear materials and are actively involved in international cooperation in nuclear security. 

At the Nuclear Security Summit on April 1, 2016 Mr. Sobotka offered technical assistance to other countries and voluntarily undertook commitments beyond the joint communiqué. In fringe meetings, the Prime Minister met the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Switzerland.

At the plenary session, the PM repeated that the Czech Republic is ready to provide technical assistance to other countries on the elimination of highly enriched uranium. In the past, the Czech Republic has provided such help to, for example, Hungary, Poland and the Ukraine.

The Nuclear Security Summit was the political culmination of a process which builds on the speech made by US President Obama in Prague in April 2009 at the time of the Czech Presidency of the EU Council. The main objective of this and the previous three similar summits was to contribute to the prevention of nuclear terrorism by effectively securing nuclear materials throughout the world.

In Minneapolis, Minnesota the PM held talks with State Governor Mark Dayton. Als, he took part in the signing of a declaration on further cooperation between Mayo Clinic and St Anne’s Hospital in Brno. The Prime Minister also hailed the qualities of the former Czechoslovak honorary consul in Minnesota, Charles Proshek, awarding him the Karel Kramář Medal in memoriam.

At the conclusion of Minneapolis visit, the Prime Minister met over two hundred compatriots at a building run by Sokol. This is the physical-education association’s oldest functioning facility in America and the hub of Czech compatriot life in Minnesota, providing a backdrop for a raft of Czech clubs. Minnesota and the American Midwest were historically generally one of the natural centres of Czech immigration in the 19th century, and to this day there is still a town here called New Prague, along with smaller, originally Czech settlements called Třeboň, Budějovice, Beroun and Veselí.

On April 3 and 4, 2016, Mr. Sobotka stopped off in Los Angeles and San Francisco. At a meeting with the Californian Governor, he voiced his backing of the Global Climate Leadership initiative.

He also met representatives of NBC Universal Studios and representatives of other major US film studios. He highlighted the good reputation of the Czech film industry and the interest in teaming up with US film studios. Later, he took a tour of spaceflight company SpaceX.

In addition, the Prime Minister visited the Museum of Tolerance, where he was taken round the museum by Rabbi Hier and then lunched with members of the Jewish community.

In San Francisco, he discussed with successful Czech entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and opened the Czech That Film festival promoting the latest Czech films in the USA in the Roxie Theater.