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IN SHORT

Schuster pushes for Slovak arms companies

SLOVAK arms producers should supply NATO countries, Slovak President Rudolf Schuster said in discussions with US Ambassador to Slovakia Ronald Weiser and Slovak Defence Minister Juraj Liška, the news wire TASR wrote.

Schuster addressed US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld with a similar offer last year. Following the enlargement of NATO by seven countries, including Slovakia, two months ago, Rumsfeld expressed America's willingness to cooperate with Slovakia in this regard.

Before 1989, numerous Slovak companies focused on the production of military technology. After the fall of the Iron Curtain, the industry declined severely, leaving many people unemployed.

According to Liška, Slovakia can offer BOŹENA mine-clearing equipment and cabins, currently being used by missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

No specific details have been arranged yet.

"It's only an idea," Liška said.

He went on to say that Rumsfeld's representatives are expected to visit Slovakia to inspect arms production.

Weiser has promised to help organise a series of meetings to improve Slovakia's chances of supplying NATO countries with its products.

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