US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Prague
A plane with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo landed at Prague’s Ruzyně Airport this morning, thus starting a visit to the Czech Republic. Czech politicians will focus on cybersecurity, fifth-generation (5G) mobile networks, and responses to the growing influence of Russia and China in the world. Today, he has a program mainly in Pilsen, where he and the Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček (ČSSD) will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. On Wednesday, he will meet with Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (YES), President Miloš Zeman and a speech in the Senate.
The plane with Secretary of State Pompeo landed at Ruzyně Airport shortly after 08:00. Pompeo was welcomed at the airport by the Director of Protocol of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Markéta Šarbochová, and the US Ambassador to Prague, Stephen King. Upon arrival, the minister should have a planned rest, according to unofficial information. He and his co-workers were taken from the airport by a convoy accompanied by police motorcycles and vehicles. Members of the large delegation had masks when getting off the plane, Pompeo and his wife got out without them.
In the afternoon, Pompeo and Petříček will visit the Patton Memorial Pilsen Museum in Pilsen and lay wreaths at the Thanksgiving Memorial, America! It will honor the memory of American soldiers who liberated the western part of Czechoslovakia at the end of World War II. Subsequently, both ministers will hold meetings at the Plzeňský Prazdroj brewery. Pompeo was supposed to visit Pilsen in May to celebrate the anniversary of the end of the war. The visit was canceled due to the coronavirus epidemic.
On Wednesday, Pompeo will meet separately with Babiš, and both will then await negotiations with Zeman, which, according to American diplomacy, will be more of a courtesy nature. Topics of talks with the Czech president should be economic issues or cooperation within NATO. The US minister will also address the Senate and then take part in a debate with senators. The last US top politician to speak in the Senate was Paul Ryan, then-Speaker of the House of Representatives, in 2018.
Speeches by US foreign ministers or other members of the government in the Czech Parliament are not common. The then head of American diplomacy, Madeleine Albright, spoke to deputies and senators, as well as members of the government, diplomats, and representatives of the army and church, for example, in 1997 in the Smetana Hall of the Prague Municipal House. In her speech, she defended, among other things, NATO enlargement.
Paul Ryan, then-Speaker of the House of Representatives, last spoke from top American politicians in the Senate in 2018. During his visit to the Czech Republic at the time, he also addressed the deputies. Now only the upper house of the Czech Parliament is sitting, the Chamber of Deputies is on vacation.
During Pompe’s visit, the police do not expect stricter security measures. Still, people in Prague and Pilsen have to reckon with the possibility of short-term closure of some intersections during the delegation’s passage.
The US minister will be in the Czech Republic until Thursday morning. After that, he will continue his journey through Central Europe, where he will gradually visit Slovenia, Austria, and Poland.