Bohuslav Sobotka, Czech Republic.jpg
Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Bohuslav Sobotka, talks to media after a bilateral meeting with European Council President Donald Tusk (not pictured) ahead of the European Summit in Brussels, Belgium, 28 June 2016.
Photograph: EPA/JULIEN WARNAND

Czechs do not want a larger Muslim presence in the country, according to Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka.

"We have no strong Muslim community here, and to be honest, we do not want a strong Muslim community to become established here," he said in an interview with the Pravo newspaper on Tuesday.

The Czech Republic shared Germany's desire to stem the tide of refugees from the Middle East, he said, "but we have different views on how to achieve this."

The comments by Sobotka, who heads a three-party governing coalition, came two days before a visit to Prague by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The Czech Republic, along with fellow Visegrad states Poland, Hungary and Slovakia, isagainst a permanent refugee quota system for European countries as advocated by Merkel. They believe it should be up to national governments to decide how many refugees to take in.

"The bottom line is that it is national governments which must guarantee the safety of their citizens," he said.

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