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Trapped ambassador called for help

September 22, 2008

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PRAGUE, Sept 21: The Czech ambassador to Pakistan was killed in the suicide bomb attack on Islamabad’s Marriott hotel, the Czech foreign ministry announced on Sunday.

Czech Foreign Minister Karel Scvhwarzenberg vigorously denounced the attack, which cost the life of the recently appointed diplomat, Ivo Zdarek. “His death shows that the terrorists are trying to hit our most vulnerable spots. We will not waver from our path: we will always stand up to evil and combat evil,” he said.

He also denounced the attack as an attempt to destabilise Pakistan in a crucial period after recent presidential elections.

The Czech embassy’s number two, Jarolav Kalfirt told AFP in Islamabad that Mr Zdarek had called his embassy after Saturday night’s bombing from inside the hotel asking to be rescued.

The 47-year-old father of two, who had been named as the Czech ambassador to Pakistan in August, had been living alone at the Marriott since his arrival last month, Czech foreign ministry spokeswoman said.

No other Czech nationals are reported as missing following the blast, the ministry said.

A graduate of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Mr Zdarek previously held senior diplomatic posts in China and Vietnam.

He served as consul-general in Shanghai from 1995 to 1999, before becoming ambassador to Vietnam in Hanoi from 2004 to August 2008. Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek condemned the attack.—AFP