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Czech president visits Iceland

The official visit of the president of the Czech Republic, Václav Klaus, and his wife, Liviu Klausová, to Iceland commenced yesterday morning at a celebration at Bessastadir, the residence of the president of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson. Icelandic ministers and officials joined the celebration.

The presidents discussed relations between the two countries, and the development and future of Europe among other things. The presidents got on well reports Morgunbladid, Ólafur Ragnar joked that he must be the only head of state that President Václav Klaus had met who had owned a Czech Skoda. Ólafur Ragnar’s first car was a Skoda, explains Morgunbladid. “No,” said President Václav Klaus, “I recently met the president of India and he informed me that his first car was also a Skoda.”

Before running for president, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson was a Member of Parliament and served as chairman of the now-defunct communist People’s Alliance Party.

In a speech at a state dinner last night, Ólafur Ragnar reminisced about his first meeting with President Václav Klaus. He and President Václav Klaus first met in Iceland 15 years ago when both were finance ministers. Ólafur said that at a meeting with a few economists, President Václav Klaus had stated that within a few years the Soviet Union would fall. Ólafur said that none of the Icelandic economists had heard such a prediction since, at the time, the Soviet Union was still a world power. Not long after this meeting President Václav Klaus’s words proved right.

Over seventy people, including former Baugur CEO Tryggvi Jónsson, currently being charged in the Baugur case, were invited to the state dinner where lamb and fish were served.

Following a meeting a meeting today with the prime minister of Iceland, Halldór Ásgrímsson, President Václav Klaus will go on a sight-seeing trip to Nesjavellir, Thingvellir, Gullfoss and Geysir.

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