US Embassy: DCA Doesn't Allow US Forces to Enter Slovakia without Consent

20. januára 2022 17:36
Bratislava, January 20 (TASR) - The Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) between Bratislava and Washington doesn’t set up any permanent US military bases in Slovakia, nor does it allow the US Armed Forces to enter the country without permission, spokeswoman of the US Embassy in Slovakia Tara Hall has stated for TASR. "The agreement will strengthen Slovakia’s position within NATO, fortify Slovakia’s own defense capabilities, and allow the country to benefit from US-funded investments in Slovak defense infrastructure," claimed the spokeswoman. According to Hall, Slovak-US defense cooperation is "nothing new" and the DCA is meant to facilitate it. The spokeswoman stressed in this regard that the main objective of the agreement is to bolster Slovakia’s security, adding that the USA has similar agreements with the great majority of its other NATO Allies, including Hungary and Poland. At the same time, the spokeswoman denied the arguments of the Slovak political opposition that US soldiers operating in Slovakia wouldn’t face criminal liability. "It is not true. The DCA provisions on jurisdiction are consistent with what other NATO Allies have agreed to bilaterally with the United States. The agreement recognises Slovak law and jurisdiction while remaining consistent with NATO agreements addressing disciplinary actions over forces. Pursuant to the NATO SOFA and the DCA, the United States will cooperate closely with authorities during investigations and at the appropriate judicial proceedings ensure the course of justice is followed," she stated. As for a recent report by the New York Times, according to which it would be possible for the USA to train Ukrainian insurgents in Slovakia due to the agreement, Hall claimed that "there is no link between the DCA and ongoing tensions between Russia and Ukraine", adding that the document has been under negotiations for four years. Addressing the question of how the embassy perceives what is happening in Slovakia regarding the agreement, Hall replied that "healthy debate is an essential part of democracy". "When we hear Slovaks voicing their support or displeasure with decisions made by their Government, we don’t see a divided society, we see valuable civic activism," she added. zel/mcs
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