Abdul Rahman al-Zamil, president of the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC), confirmed on Wednesday that the Kingdom has cancelled a scheduled trade talk with the Czech Republic over a Czech official's anti-Islam remarks, according to Arab News.
“I have seen the reports and I can confirm the cancellation of the Saudi-Czech business meeting...but I can’t give specific details with regard to our position now,” said al-Zamil.
Czech Republic president Milos Zeman has a history of criticising Islam and labeling the Islamic culture as anti-Semitic.
His most striking comments came during a reception held in the Czech Republic on May 26, 2014 to celebrate “Israel’s Independence Day,” in which he recalled the 200 girls kidnapped in Nigeria by Boko Haram militants last year.
“I will not be calmed down by statements that it is only small marginal groups. I believe, on the contrary, that this xenophobia and this racism or anti-Semitism stem from the very nature of the ideology, on which these fanatic groups rely,” said Zeman according to the Prague Post.
Saudi-Czech relations have been strained following Zeman’s anti-Islam comments and the recent boycott by the Kingdom has not seemed to soothe tension between the two nations.
However, Czech ambassador Jiri Slavik was hopeful in achieving reconciliation, stating that he has “sent a note to the Saudi Foreign Ministry requesting a meeting...I expect to meet Saudi officials soon, and discuss the deadlock.”