NEW JOINT Czech and Slovak plant CZ Slovensko for production of small arms opened on the grounds of the Vojenský Opravárenský Podnik (VOP) Nováky military maintenance company on July 15. The firm is the first step to restoring the armament industry in Slovakia, said Prime Minister Robert Fico who attended the opening, as reported by the SITA newswire.

A majority stake in the plant belongs to Czech ammunition company Česká Zbrojovka, based in Uherský Brod, while a Slovak company MSM Martin owns the rest. CZ Slovensko currently employs 65 people, but plans to boost this number to 200 by the end of this year.

Except for production of components for cartridges and parts for one of the assault rifles used by the army, the company should also house a development centre that will be established next year.

“The skills of our people, as well as the CZ brand will lay the groundwork for this initiative to be as successful as it gets,” Fico said, as quoted by SITA.

The PM also assured his Czech partners that “the Slovak government will do its best to make sure that any barriers to this cooperation are removed and that the joint business interests of our companies in the Czech Republic and Slovakia are met to the agreed extent”, as reported by the TASR newswire.

Fico expressed hope that the project will be a harbinger of more significant activities.

His Czech counterpart Bohuslav Sobotka considers the joint plant a very important step on the way to deepen the mutual cooperation.

“I want to confirm that Uherský Brod-based Česká Zbrojovka belongs to the national silver of Czech industry and Slovak Nováky is a locality with long tradition of armament production with qualified labour force,” Sobotka said, as quoted by SITA.

Along with opening the new CZ Slovensko plant, Slovak Defence Minister Martin Glváč and his Czech counterpart Martin Stropnický signed the declaration over cooperation when creating conditions for procuring small arms.

Both countries also expressed will to cooperate in the protection of air space, crisis management, joint acquisitions of materials, modernisation of arms and equipment, as well as in education and training.

Source: TASR, SITA

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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