Mon, Dec 22, 2014 - Page 6 News List

Czech Jewish community opposes Putin invitation

AFP, PRAGUE

The Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic has firmly opposed Russian President Vladimir Putin visiting Prague to attend ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

Invited to attend events by Czech President Milos Zeman, the Russian leader has thus far neither accepted nor rejected taking part in the commemorations organized by the European Jewish Congress from Jan. 26 to Jan. 27 in Prague and Terezin, Czech Republic.

The federation “considers the visit of President Putin to Prague inappropriate for the day of Holocaust remembrance and prevention of crimes against humanity,” it said in a statement seen by reporters on Saturday.

“The regime Putin established and embodies does not respect international treaties, is aggressive abroad and uses its power to occupy the territory of a neighboring state,” the statement added.

The commemorations are scheduled to include the “Let My People Live” forum in Prague, and an act of piety in the formerly Nazi Terezin concentration camp, to which representatives of 47 nations have been invited.

Many have already confirmed their plans to attend the commemorations, including European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker, as well as leaders from about 23 nations.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is also expected to attend, although US President Barack Obama has said he will be unable to attend.

About 1.1 million people from around Europe — about 1 million of whom were Jews — perished in the Nazi death camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau between 1940 and 1945.

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