On April 7, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, visiting Slovakia on his way to sign a nuclear arms reduction treaty with US President Barack Obama in the Czech capital Prague, met his counterpart Ivan Gašparovič in Bratislava to discuss Russia’s relations with the European Union and NATO, the TASR newswire reported.
Discussions on the second day of his visit kicked off with the focus on energy, transport, and military co-operation. The talks were followed by a ceremony at which Russian veterans were awarded the Double White Cross Second Class, while Slovak veterans will receive the Order of Friendship.
The two presidents issued a joint communiqué marking the 65th anniversary of the end of WWII in Europe and highlighting friendly relations, and will attend the signing of intergovernmental treaties and business agreements. In addition, the Russian president attended a ceremony to mark the 65th anniversary of the Red Army's liberation of Bratislava (April 4, 1945) at the Slavín WWII memorial, which also serves as a cemetery for Soviet soldiers killed during the fighting in the Slovak capital.
Medvedev, Gašparovič and Slovak Premier Robert Fico then proceeded to a concert featuring the A.V. Aleksandrov Russian Army Song and Dance Ensemble. Both Presidents proclaimed that based on mutual interest, mutual respect and benefit their countries are prepared to co-operate closely and along with other states look for solutions to the threats and challenges of the 21st century, such as international terrorism, cross-border crime, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, energy security and climate change.
Russia is part of the Europe-wide civilising process, as well as being a natural and strategic partner of Slovakia and the whole European Union, Gašparovič said. “We're interested in (seeing) the EU and Russia proceed in negotiations on a new agreement on a strategic partnership,” he stressed.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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8. Apr 2010 at 10:00