Zeman: We don’t negotiate with terrorists

In his speech on the 20th anniversary of the accession of the Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungary to NATO, Czech President Miloš Zeman was the only one who addressed the issues of terrorism, and the mission in Afghanistan in particular.

Zeman repeated that one should not negotiate with terrorists but fight them instead. He also called on the Czech army to acquire armed drones rather than spend money on the modernization of its armored forces. Zeman criticized Czech generals who, according to him, are preparing for a war gone by.

The other V4 presidents stressed the need for a common defense of freedom and the certainty that the alliance provides to their countries.

Leading Czech politicians spoke about the alliance similarly. "It is our existence's interest to be members of this association," PM Andrej Babiš said about the Czech membership, being the only one to follow President Zeman and criticize NATO for its lack of engagement in fighting terrorism.

For example, Polish President Andrzej Duda spoke about the need to modernize the army as well and mentioned some Polish investments. Poland is the only country of the Visegrad Four to fulfill NATO´s condition of spending two percent of GDP on defense. Duda also stressed that the US Army's permanent presence in Poland would be a guarantee of security for the Poles.

Slovak President Andrej Kiska, whose country commemorates the 15th anniversary of NATO accession, emphasized the danger of hybrid threats and information warfare.

Hungarian President János Áder talked about a new historical situation, as for the first time in history Hungarians are not alone in securing their country. "What is really important in the alliance is unity," he said.

Even in the discussion that followed the speeches of the four presidents, President Zeman addressed terrorism. Other presidents focused on changes in the geopolitical situation in Europe and the world, mentioning the threat of Russia.

"The new challenges facing the alliance are rooted in Russian assertiveness, in Africa, in the Middle East, and in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction," Deputy Secretary General of NATO Rose Gottemoeller said summing up future topics.

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