"Now that we are here, we hope to have our businesspeople come and visit."
Hon. Widodo Sastroamidjojo
Indonesia became the latest nation to place its highest diplomat in Bratislava, when Ambassador Sri Andalia Widodo Sastroamidjojo received her credentials from the Foreign Ministry on November 3.
Egypt will soon follow, as Abdelhameed Marzouk, the chargé d'affaires, hopes to officially open his country's embassy before the end of the month.
They were both preceded by India, when its chargé d'affaires, Aruna S. Fontana, opened her country's diplomatic doors on October 14.
Sitting in an office so new that it still lacked shelves, cabinets or decorations, Marzouk said, "We were trying to handle everything from Prague and, as of early this year, from Vienna. But we feel the time has come for us to open an embassy in Bratislava."
India and Indonesia both covered Slovak affairs from Prague until they opened their Bratislava embassies. But commercial interests played a major role in the decisions to open the embassies in Slovakia.
"We are interested in promoting economic relations," said Indonesian Widodo Sastroamidjojo. "Now that we are here, we hope to have our businesspeople come and visit."
Marzouk, who called his embassy "one of the fruitful results" of a 1994 visit to Slovakia by Egyptian President Hosni Mubark, echoed that sentiment. "We are interested in increasing trade with Slovakia. Slovakia is a leading country in heavy industry and in chemicals," he said, before highlighting Egypt's commercial specialities. "We have small private companies making ceramics and carpets of very high quality."
All three countries represent firsts of sorts. Egypt is the first Arab nation represented in Slovakia, India is the first from its sub-continental region, and Indonesia beat all other southeast Asian nations.