NEWS BRIEFS

Slovakia to increase defence spending

SLOVAKIA is trying to fulfil its NATO commitment of allocating two percent of its GDP to defence purposes, Deputy Defence Minister Martin Fedor said June 9 in Brussels.

The country also wants to raise the quality of its defence spending, the minister said.

According to NATO figures released at the Defence Ministers meeting, Slovakia gave only 1.8 percent of GDP for defence in 2004. Only eight out of 26 NATO member states achieved the required two percent level, the TASR news agency wrote.

"This commitment is prospective. We're trying to fulfil it. We are discussing it and are getting close," Fedor said.

Among the countries giving most for defence are the United States (3.7 percent of GDP), followed by Greece and Turkey (2.9 and 2.7 percent, respectively). France, Great Britain, Bulgaria, Romania and Norway also exceed the obligatory two percent.

Among the priorities of the Slovak Defence Ministry are staff stabilization and the professionalization of the military.

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