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THE COUNTRY'S OFFICIALS CALL FOR UNITED EFFORTS TO COMBAT TERRORISM

Slovakia shattered by London drama

THOUGH no Slovaks have been reported killed or wounded in London terrorist attacks that wounded the British capital on July 7, Slovakia was still shattered by the images that media brought to this central European nation from Britain.

THOUGH no Slovaks have been reported killed or wounded in London terrorist attacks that wounded the British capital on July 7, Slovakia was still shattered by the images that media brought to this central European nation from Britain.


The attacks came during the time when the leaders of the G8, the wealthiest and most influential nations, are discussing global issues in Great Britain.


Slovak officials expressed their regrets and condolences to the people of London. In a letter to his British counterpart Tony Blair, Slovak Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda strongly condemned the attacks.


"The inhabitants of London have our full moral support and I am convinced that they will handle the consequences of this barbarian terrorist attack with raised heads. Slovakia confirms its determination to jointly face the threats of terrorism around the world," wrote Dzurinda.


The Foreign Affairs Ministry has received no information that there were Slovak citizens among the killed and wounded during the terrorist attacks on London's public transport system, news wire TASR wrote.


"We are in continuous contact with the authorities," said ministry spokesman Juraj Tomaga.


The Slovak Embassy in London set up a crisis team to regularly monitor and evaluate the situation.


Slovakia's president Ivan Gasparovič believes that the terrorist attacks should be an impulse for the allies to unite in their efforts to combat terrorism. He stressed that Slvaks need to understand the real nature of terrorism and that it is necessary to stand united against it.


Pavol Hrušovský, the Speaker of Slovak Parliament joined the condemnation of terrorists and said that the "inhumane act at the innocent inhabitants of London is a proof of the hatred and pride of its authors".


"We will continue to cooperate with all states that stand side by side in the fight against terror," he said.


The country's Interior Minister Vladimír Palko reported that Slovakia has approved special security measures in response to the attacks. However, the authorities have no information on terrorist attacks being prepared in Slovakia.


"It was attack against a Slovak ally - Great Britain, which is a NATO member and the country currently holding the presidency of the European Union. I would like to express my sympathy and sorrow to the victims, their families and all the people of Britain," Palko added.


The head of the Parliamentary Committee for Defence and Security Robert Kaliňák has called Thursday's terrorist attacks in London a catastrophe.


"We now need to get the European powers together in order to defend ourselves from such threats," Kaliňák told news wire TASR on July 7.


According to Kaliňák, at the next committee session, members will examine any possible terrorist threats to Slovakia, assessing all information in detail.


Oopposition Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) chairman Vladimír Mečiar also sent a letter of condolence to British Prime Minister Tony Blair.


"These terrorist attacks are inexcusable. They are nothing but cowardly attacks on civilians in the most vulnerable public places," wrote Mečiar in his letter.


As many Slovaks are in London at the moment, HZDS considers the terrorist attacks in London to be also directed against Slovakia, a fellow EU member.


The people of Slovakia "are shocked by the news of the London tragedy", Mečiar added.


SME daily reported that thousands of the Slovaks who live in Britain found themselves near to the explosions. A Slovak woman, Eva Boardman exited the metro station only couple minutes after the bomb exploded.


Reportedly, one of the terrorists suspected of planning the terrorist attacks at the London metro lived for a shorter time period in Slovakia, according to the report on Slovakia's safety for 2004, daily Nový Čas wrote.


However, spokesman of the country's intelligence service SIS Vladimír Šimko refused to comment.


(ends)

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