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Conference discusses EU, NATO and Russian Federation

THE ROLE of new EU and NATO members in both groups, as well as in the development of relations with Russia, were among the topics of the Transatlantic Drift Debate in Bratislava held on April 19.

The process of the social-political changes is not expected to stop at Georgia and Ukraine but will continue to other countries of the former Soviet Union, the last Foreign Affairs Minister of the Soviet Union Boris Pankin said at the international conference, the TASR news wire reported.

After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, former Communist Party representatives (especially in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgystan) were first in the former Soviet bloc countries with renewed totalitarian systems.

According to Marc Ellenbogen, Chairman of the Global Panel Foundation and President of the Prague Society, the Russian Federation is not able to exist in this form.

"The lack of infrastructure helps the mafia carry out illegal activities," he said.

Independent Institute President Oleg Manajev wasn't able to take part in this conference because the institute was cancelled by the Belarus Supreme Court.

"We can't ignore how hard Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko is on his citizens," said Ellenbogen.

Experts and politicians from 14 countries will also debate issues surrounding the EU's common foreign and security policy, as well as a scenario in which a united Europe or a stronger Asia forms a counterbalance to US power.

Slovak Foreign Affairs Minister Eduard Kukan, many ambassadors, diplomats, government and NGO representatives, and former Czechoslovak foreign minister Jiří Dienstbier were all in attendance.

The event is called the International Political Session of the Transatlantic Drift Debate and is being run by the Prague Society for International Cooperation, Foundation Global Panel and the US Council on Foreign Relations in cooperation with the US Public Affairs Institute.

Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
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