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Gašparovič leaves for NATO Summit

Slovak President Ivan Gašparovič left on April 2 for the NATO summit in the Romanian capital of Bucharest. The Alliance's top-level meeting will also be attended by Foreign Minister Ján Kubiš and Defence Minister Jaroslav Baška.

Slovak President Ivan Gašparovič left on April 2 for the NATO summit in the Romanian capital of Bucharest. The Alliance's top-level meeting will also be attended by Foreign Minister Ján Kubiš and Defence Minister Jaroslav Baška.

The Bucharest summit taking place between April 2 and 4 will be the largest NATO event ever and the culmination of the Alliance's activities over the past 18 months or so since the Riga summit in November 2006. Apart from top representatives of member countries, the event will also be attended by officials from Russia and Ukraine and two countries that have contributed units to the NATO operation in Afghanistan - Australia and Japan.

Gašparovič said on April 1 that the summit would mainly deal with further steps in Afghanistan, NATO expansion, the Kosovo issue and the future of the Balkans in general. The American plans to build an anti-missile system in the Czech Republic and Poland will also be discussed. Moreover, NATO is expected to accept three new members - Macedonia, Albania and Croatia.

According to Gašparovič, the key issue as far as NATO activities are concerned is the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan. He stressed that Slovakia intended to table its own proposals and to be an active member of the Alliance. In connection with NATO expansion, Gašparovič noted that Slovakia also approves of the possible future membership of Ukraine, although it will first be necessary to assess whether Kiev has complied with the accession conditions. TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports

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