Jiri Rusnok, Czech PM, Says he Doesn’t Want to go to Mandela’s Funeral

December 7, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

Jiri Rusnok, the Czech Republic’s prime minister, said in a secretly recorded statement that he doesn’t want to attend Nelson Mandela’s funeral.

Rusnok, who is slated to leave office, apparently wasn’t aware that he was being recorded.

“I hope the president will go instead. The idea of going gives me the shivers,” he told Defense Minister Vlastimil Picek on Friday, reported AFP.

The chat was broadcast by Czech public television before it went viral on social media websites. The conversation was captured by microphones in the country’s parliament.

Rusnok said that he hoped President Milos Zeman would go but that appears unlikely has Zeman is recovering from a knee injury.

“Can you tell me how he will climb the stairs to the plane?” Picek asked Rusnok during the conversation.

He described the trip from the Czech Republic to South Africa, where Mandela’s funeral is being held, as “one hell of a distance” to travel.

He later stated “I guess he (Zeman) won’t fly so I’m [screwed].”

According to The Associated Press, he said he had other plans, including a lunch and a dinner.

“I apologize for those words,” Rusnok said in a statement to AP. “It was not right to use such terms in connection with the death of Nelson Mandela.”

He said it will be later decided who is to attend Mandela’s funeral.

Mandela died on Thursday evening at the age of 95. His funeral is slated for Dec. 15.

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