PRAGUE, April 3, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An AJC leadership delegation met with Czech officials during a three-day visit to the Central European nation's capital.
This latest AJC visit to the Czech Republic came immediately after AJC Central Europe, the global advocacy organization's newest office in Europe, was launched at a gala evening in Warsaw, which was attended by over 500 government officials, senior diplomats, media representatives, and AJC leaders from across the U.S. and Europe.
The Czech Republic is one of the seven countries in the region that AJC Central Europe is engaging. The others, in addition to Poland, are Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, and Slovakia. AJC delegations visited those countries as well, after a series of high-level meetings in Poland, where the office is based and led by Acting Director Agnieszka Markiewicz.
"AJC Central Europe enables us to deepen our engagement, at a critical moment in world affairs, with the Czech Republic and other countries in the region," said AJC CEO David Harris, who led the 30-member AJC delegation.
"Our goal is to send a strong message of transatlantic partnership and to build on our long friendship with the Czech Republic, which included full support for Czech admission to NATO and integration into the European Union," he said. "There are few countries in the world with a longer record of friendship to the Jewish people and Israel than the Czech Republic, and with which we have such a solid foundation of historical experience and understanding."
During the visit to Prague, the AJC delegation met with Deputy Foreign Minister Václav Kolaja; Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies of Czech Parliament Jan Bartošek; and Israeli Ambassador Daniel Meron. The delegation was also received at the Prague Castle to meet with Rudolf Jindrák, the Director of International Affairs to Czech President Miloš Zeman.
At the Czernin Palace, the Czech Foreign Ministry, the delegation visited the memorial of Jan Masaryk to commemorate the Czech diplomat and former Foreign Minister who, like his father Tomas Masaryk, the first president of the country after its independence in 1918, was a great friend of the Jewish people and supporter of Zionism.
The group held a dinner to discuss the dissident and Jewish experiences during the four decades of communist rule in the country, and, in the company of a Holocaust survivor, Doris Grozdanovičová, visited the Nazi German concentration camp in Terezin.
The AJC delegation was hosted by U.S. Chargé d'Affaires Kelly Adams-Smith for a briefing and reception at her residence, which was attended by officials from the Culture, Foreign Affairs, and Interior Ministries, and members of Czech civil society.
The delegation was joined throughout the visit by top leaders, including Tomas Kraus, of the Jewish community in Prague and the Czech Republic, with which AJC has maintained a longstanding and very fruitful association agreement.
During the visit, among the principal topics discussed were: (a) Czech-U.S. relations in the new political era; (b) Czech-Israeli relations; (c) developments in the European Union, including the United Kingdom's action on March 29 to begin the process of leaving the EU; and (d) threats to national and regional security.
AJC engages regularly with Czech diplomats across the U.S. and elsewhere, and the global Jewish advocacy organization meets with Czech officials each year on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
AJC CEO David Harris last visited Prague in September 2016.
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SOURCE American Jewish Committee