Lajcak Doesn't Expect Defence Cooperation with USA to Be Agreed by Election

9. októbra 2019 20:37
Bratislava, October 9 (TASR) - The space for approving defence cooperation with the USA is narrowing rather than expanding as the parliamentary election approaches, said Foreign Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajcak (a Smer-SD nominee) following Wednesday's Government session, adding that he considers this to be a mistake. However, the minister stated he respects the will of the majority in Parliament. "Something would have to change in an extraordinary way in order for this to be concluded before the election. I'm realistic, so I don't expect it, but I think that as a responsible state and a member country of the North Atlantic Alliance we have a duty to continue these negotiations. They're at an expert level. On a number of issues the positions are still quite far apart, so we're looking for some possible overlaps, and we've also agreed with the Americans that this isn't about time, but about agreeing on a text with which both parties would be able to identify," he added. Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini (Smer-SD) stated in March that the diplomacy ministry would continue negotiations on defence cooperation with the USA at the level of a framework agreement. The aim of the negotiations should be to confirm whether Slovakia can negotiate an agreement that will not undermine the sovereignty of the country, will not guarantee the presence of US troops in Slovakia and will not force it to implement projects that it doesn't want on its territory. At a Coalition Council session in April, the party leaders agreed that Defence Minister Peter Gajdos (Slovak National Party/SNS) would not participate in the negotiations. The Defence Ministry had been arguing that accepting the agreement would jeopardise Slovakia's sovereignty. am/df
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