On the first stop of her four-country tour through Europe, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton traveled to the Czech Republic. In Prague, Secretary Clinton met with Czech officials, including Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, the leadership of the Czech Republic Social Democratic Party leadership, and Prime Minister Petr Necas, to discuss strengthening Czech energy independence, advancing human rights, and supporting democratic transitions around the world.
After their meeting, Secretary Clinton and Czech Foreign Minister Schwarzenberg addressed reporters at Czernin Palace. Secretary Clinton said, "As the minister said, our friendship dates back to the earliest days of the Czech Republic. It is based on a mutual respect and shared interests founded on three pillars -- security cooperation; economic, civil-nuclear, science, and technology cooperation; and cooperation based on our shared values, particularly in the promotion of democracy and human rights around the world."
In her remarks, the Secretary addressed U.S.-Czech cooperation on security issues, including in Afghanistan. Secretary Clinton said, "Hundreds of Czech troops stand with Americans and other allied nations to helped the Afghan people build a stable future for their country. We will work together to manage the drawdown on the end of combat operations in 2014 and then to support the Afghan National Security Forces beyond that, and we appreciate greatly the Czech Republic's commitment to those. We also are highly impressed by the new multinational training center for helicopter pilots that the Czech Republic is developing, one of the first projects in the smart defense program that NATO adopted earlier this year."
The Secretary commented, "For many years, we thought primarily in a bilateral way about what we could do together with the Czech Republic. But our partnership has grown far beyond that, and today, we collaborate on global security issues, democratic transitions in the Middle East and North Africa, and so much else."
In closing, Secretary Clinton said, "The American people have a great deal of affection and respect for how far the Czech Republic has come in the past two decades. And we will continue to support continuing progress and prosperity and our shared values that are rooted in our common experience and history."