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Gašparovič: Defence spending to increase slightly

Slovak President Ivan Gašparovič told journalists on June 24 that the Defence Ministry budget will increase, but not by as much as 2 percent, as NATO requires.

Slovak President Ivan Gašparovič told journalists on June 24 that the Defence Ministry budget will increase, but not by as much as 2 percent, as NATO requires.

Gašparovič was speaking after a meeting with Defence Minister Jaroslav Baška at the Presidential Palace. The president was reacting to a similar statement recently made by Prime Minister Robert Fico.

"There are more pressing areas, such as health care, social programs, education, and science, where money is needed."

Baška told journalists that he had informed the president about future military operations abroad and about an increase in the troop mandate for the ISAF mission in Afghanistan. He also promised to make cuts in certain areas.

"There are chances to save, and we would like to invest in new weapons and equipment for professional soldiers." TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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