The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Jakub Kulhanek, has expressed Europe’s growing concern over Iran’s nuclear path, and stressed the need to change this course.
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat during his recent visit to Riyadh, Kulhanek said: “Iran’s nuclear trajectory is deeply worrying and must change, and we believe that maintaining the JCPOA is the best way to achieve that.”
He also expressed support for the return of the United States to the agreement and its full implementation by all sides, underlining the need for Iran to rejoin the Vienna talks.
Commenting on the Taliban’s seizure of power in Afghanistan, and its impact on the security and stability of the region and the world, Kulhanek was not surprised by the rapid developments in the country.
“We have to face reality as it is, and be realistic. We will not abandon our achievements in the past two decades.... In our next steps regarding the new Afghan authorities, we must have realistic expectations - of course, without compromising our values and principles.”
The minister noted that the international community would need to engage in some kind of “coordinated dialogue” with the new government in Kabul in order to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe.
“The new government in Kabul must be judged by its actions, not its words,” he said, pointing out that the Czechs had no intention of recognizing the new government led by the Taliban.
On the discussions he held in Riyadh, the minister said that besides his participation in a business forum, he held meetings with his Saudi counterpart, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, to consolidate the exchange of information on topics of common interest, including security, counter-terrorism and regional developments.
Kulhanek noted that Saudi Arabia and the Czech Republic had a lot to exchange in many areas such as trade, scientific cooperation, energy and mining, in addition to the health sector and the security industry.
“We see great potential in providing Czech knowledge, technologies and products to the giant, ambitious and impressive projects of the Kingdom’s government, such as NEOM, the Red Sea, or the Green Riyadh Initiative,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Regarding Saudi Arabia’s role in regional stability, the minister emphasized that the Kingdom was an important power and one of the main players in the global economy, which was confirmed by its successful presidency of the G20 in 2020.
As for Saudi reforms, Kulhanek said: “It is surprising that you regularly hear and read in the world’s leading media about ambitious reforms and mega projects such as the Vision 2030 program.”
On the Saudi efforts to resolve the crisis in Yemen, the Czech foreign minister stressed that his country always supported the work of the international community to find a solution to the Yemeni crisis.
“We welcomed the new initiative presented by Saudi Arabia in March, which we believed could contribute to finding an acceptable and sustainable solution. Unfortunately, cross-border fighting and strikes continue. We have made public calls to stop these attacks and for all parties to declare an immediate nationwide ceasefire,” he remarked.