US PRESIDENT George W. Bush said Slovakia is among the countries at risk of a future missile attack from Iran, in a lecture in Washington on October 23.
Bush said the Central-European region, including Slovakia, could benefit from the planned American missile defense system if an Iranian attack takes place, the Sme daily wrote on October 24.
"Iranian officials have declared they are developing missiles with a range of 1,200 miles (750 kilometres), which would give them the capability to strike many of our NATO allies, including Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, and possibly Poland, Hungary and Slovakia," he said at the National Defense University in Washington, as quoted by Sme.
Iran is the most realistic threat to the NATO countries, because it developing a new generation of missiles, called Shahabs, he said.
Bush continued that the planned American anti-missile system, which includes bases in the Czech Republic and Poland, will also defend neighbouring countries, including Slovakia, against a possible attack.
On a visit to Moscow on May 5, Prime Minister Robert Fico backed Russian President Vladimir Putin's rejection of the US missile defense system.
"The US and the EU made a strategic failure when they did not communicate with the Russian Federation on this issue," Fico said at the time.
However, Slovak Foreign Minister Ján Kubiš supports the construction of the radar and anti-missile installations, he said in May.
Analysts said Fico's position was an act of disloyalty to Slovakia's allies.
According to defense analyst Ivo Samson, Bush's latest statements do not stray from things his earlier comments, even though he explicitly mentioned Slovakia this time.
Aside from Fico's statements, Slovakia has declared that it accepts the defense system, both through Kubiš's statements and through its position in NATO, Samson said.
"Slovakia, as a part of NATO, is of the opinion that this radar base in the Czech Republic and the anti-missile defense base in Poland also serve to protect the Slovak Republic," he told The Slovak Spectator.
29. Oct 2007 at 0:00 | Ľuba Lesná