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Kukan says ambassadors will continue to be political nominees

THE FOREIGN Ministry will not avoid having political nominees become ambassadors after the next general elections, Foreign Minister Eduard Kukan said.

"It is important that these political nominees can speak foreign languages and have a good personal predisposition for the job of ambassador," Kukan told the TASR news wire.

On April 4, President Ivan Gašparovič criticized party nominations to ambassadorial posts.

However, the 1994-1998 government of Vladimír Mečiar, which Gašparovič supported as Speaker of Parliament, frequently rewarded HZDS party supporters by making them ambassadors.

Gašparovič also reproached Slovakia's foreign policy for what he called its "invisibility" with respect to EU institutions and to the performance of neighbouring countries.

The president said that Slovakia far too easily sides with the proposals of the European Commission.

The Nový Čas daily wrote that Kukan considers Gašparovič's criticism merely his personal opinion.

"It's necessary to use diplomatic procedures to reach solutions that are advantageous for Slovakia, and we are doing it. Big words and big gestures are not necessarily an effective defence of national interests. The result is what's important," Kukan said.

Compiled by Martina Jurinová from press reports
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