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IN SHORTS

Dzurinda: Relationship with US is crucial

COOPERATION and strategic partnership with the United States are key to Slovakia's foreign policy, Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda told a conference in Bratislava on March 28.

"I sincerely wish not only that we gain more US investment, but also that Slovakia establishes itself as a clear, firm, and reliable partner of the US in Europe," Dzurinda said in his address to a conference on Slovakia's foreign policy in 2002. The premier also expressed his hope that Slovakia could always rely on the US as an ally.

On the issue of Slovakia's planned accession to the European Union and NATO next year, he pledged that the country would do its utmost to maintain and strengthen European unity and the stability of North Atlantic relations.

"We want a unified Europe that will be a partner of the United States. We do not want a Europe that is the US's political rival. Nor can the US give up being an ally to Europe," he added.

Dzurinda described Slovakia's relations with the Czech Republic as "above-average", with Poland as "excellent", with Austria as "problem-free", and with Hungary as "good, although burdened by the controversial Status Act". Relations with eastern neighbour Ukraine were said to show "great potential".

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