Slovakia's Defence Minister Jaroslav Baška met US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates in Washington, DC, on March 18, at the end of an official visit to the United States.
Among other issues, the ministers discussed strategic questions about the future of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). They agreed that the current structures of the organisation correspond more with the era of the Cold War than the present and, along with decision-making processes, they need to be more efficient and simple. Money saved in this way could then be used to bolster NATO’s capabilities. Baška and Gates also spoke about the impact of the financial crisis on national budgets.
Baška stressed that the ISAF mission in Afghanistan is currently the most important international crisis management operation for Slovakia and that the country is meeting its international commitments and increasing the number of its troops in ISAF in spite of the impact of the crisis on the ministry’s budget. He pointed out that the participation of members of the Slovak Armed Forces in Afghanistan has more than tripled over the past two years. Gates said he appreciated Slovakia's efforts and contribution to the mission. Prior to his visit to the Pentagon, Baška had a working breakfast with Congressmen John Mica and Joe Wilson, Defence Ministry spokesman Vladimír Gemela told the SITA newswire. SITA
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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18. Mar 2010 at 14:00