Former Civic Democrat (ODS) Minister of Agriculture, Minister for Regional Development and Consul General in New York from 1997-2002, Petr Gandalovič has been appointed Czech ambassador to the US.
The Czech embassy in Washington said in a short statement that Gandalovič swopped a few words with US President Barack Obama as he presented his credentials on July 7, with the US leader underlining how much he appreciated the alliance with the Czech Republic.
Gandalovič, accompanied at the ceremony by his wife Pavlína, noted how much the Czech Republic valued the good cooperation with the US ambasador to the Czech Republic, Norman Eisen, a former close advisor to Obama and his ethics czar.
Away from the diplomatic small talk, Czech-US relations have been strained by Obama’s reset of relations with Russia and decision to abandon US plans for a missile defense system to be based in Poland and the Czech Republic, which was attacked by Moscow as a threat to its security.
Prague, however, is looking for a new, more even-handed, bilateral investment protection deal with the US with the Obama administration promising to make this a high priority issue.
The US is also looking to land a large part of the contract to expand the Czech nuclear power plant Temelín with US company Westinghouse competing with France’s Areva and and a consortium of Russia’s Atomstroyexport and Czech nuclear industry supplier Škoda JS.