More than 800 guests from 65 countries, among them the prime ministers of the Visegrad Four (V4) countries (Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary) and NATO General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen, are attending the three-day GLOBSEC 2014 international security conference, which opened in Bratislava on May 14. Other notable guests include Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland and former supreme commander of the allied forces in Afghanistan John Allen.

The main topic of the conference is the situation in Ukraine. Other topics include the European Parliament elections, the “rise and fall” of political Islam, the future of the EU’s Eastern Partnership and developments in the Western Balkans, president of the Slovak Atlantic Commission Rastislav Káčer told the TASR newswire.

The event opened at the Kempinski Hotel at 13:00 by Slovak Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák. The public is also able to take part in the conference at an event called Globsec City Talks organised in the Old Market-hall building in the city centre. “We’ve invited the most interesting speakers from the GLOBSEC conference to the Globsec City Talks,” said Robert Vass, executive vice-president of the Central European Strategy Council.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Vitali Klitschko, heavyweight boxing champion and candidate for the post of mayor of Kiev, won’t appear at the GLOBSEC 2014 international security conference in Bratislava after all, in spite of having promised their attendance.

“We had them confirmed, but developments in recent days in Ukraine have detained them and they aren’t coming,” said Káčer, adding that a deputy foreign affairs minister and Klitschko’s advisor will attend instead. Ukraine is represented at the conference, among others, by Oleh Rybachuk, former advisor to ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko and ex-president Viktor Yushchenko.

Rasmussen and Czech diplomat Karel Kovanda received the Czech and Slovak Transatlantic Awards on the sidelines of the GLOBSEC 2014 conference on May 14. Rasmussen was awarded the accolade in recognition for his support to central and eastern European countries during a summit in Prague in 2002, that is when he was the Danish prime minister. Rasmussen was also acknowledged for his contribution towards the building of transatlantic relations and for his work at the helm of NATO since 2009. Kovanda was recognised for his role in the integration of the Czech Republic into NATO.

With respect to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, it’s important that residents from the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk get a chance to vote in the presidential election scheduled for May 25, US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland said at the conference. She warned that if the election doesn’t take place and Russia continues to destabilise Ukraine, Moscow will face tougher, sectoral economic sanctions. The measures adopted against Russia after the annexation of the Crimea are, according to her, “beginning to bite”. When asked about the readiness of the US to continue with the policy of military guarantees in central and eastern Europe, Nuland said that it’s not just the US that is having a visible presence in the region. “It’s NATO’s mission,” she said.

GLOBSEC 2014 can be also followed through live broadcasts of the teraz.sk website.

(Source: TASR)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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