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Czech Republic to close seven diplomatic missions

The Czech Foreign Ministry decided to close three embassies and four consulates general, the ministry's spokeswoman Zuzana Opletalova told CTK today without elaborating.

The ministry will release the names of the given countries only after these countries officially receive the information. The government has already agreed on the closures, Opletalova said. According to the news server Aktualne.cz, the missions to be closed include the embassies in Zimbabwe and Uruguay, and consulates general in Katowice, Poland and Cape Town, South Africa. The embassy in Kongo may be the third to end.

It is speculated that also one of the Czech consulates in Germany will close down, the server writes. It says that missions are to be closed in countries that are visited only by a low number of Czech tourists and that do not have intensive trade relations with the Czech Republic. Jan Hamacek (opposition Social Democrats, CSSD), head of the lower house foreign committee, criticised the government for not discussing the final decision on the cancellation of the diplomatic offices in the lower house.

The cancellation or reorganization of some of the 120 Czech foreign missions has been mentioned for a long time. The ministry planned to move a part of its commercial counselors from the West eastwards - from countries like Britain, Danmark, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Poland and Slovakia to China, India, Mongolia, Russia, Taiwan, Vietnam and other states. The Czech Republic has recently opened the embassy in Moldova and the diplomatic mission in Afghanistan started operating again. (ceskenoviny.cz)