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IN SHORT

Slovakia commemorates Madrid victims

SLOVAKIA commemorated the victims of the train bombings in Madrid by observing a three-minute silence at noon on March 16, the news wire TASR wrote.

Similar tributes were held on the same day across the European Union and in the 10 countries due to join the bloc on May 1.

Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda urged the nation to express "solidarity with grieving Spain".

All official buildings of the state and local authorities flew the Slovak flag at half-mast. In Bratislava, a book of condolence was opened at the Spanish Embassy, and a requiem mass was held at the Jesuit Church in Františkánske square.

"The tragedy in Madrid should initiate a more open discussion about whether is it possible, suitable, and right to make concessions to evil, whether it is possible for terrorism to suppress the principles of parliamentary democracy," the PM said on March 15.

The Slovak PM said that Slovakia, a future EU and NATO member, must realise that it is a part of the developed world and that the problems of other states concern it and its citizens.

"When Spain is endangered, we are endangered as well," the PM said.

Immediately after the Madrid bombing Slovakia did not strengthen its security measures, unlike some of the state's neighbours, such as the Czech Republic.

On March 16, however, President Rudolf Schuster proposed to PM Dzurinda that he consider calling a meeting of the state security council in order to re-evaluate the security situation in Slovakia.

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