THE FIRST wires from the U.S. Embassy in Bratislava have appeared on Wikileaks. The dispatches however, which are from August 2008 after the armed conflict between Russia and Georgia, were published neither by WikiLeaks nor by one of the five world media that have access to all the messages. The publisher was instead a Moscow-based magazine; Russian Reporter.
The documents reveal the background of the rather ambiguous Slovak diplomacy after the war in Georgia, the Sme daily reported. Former Prime Minister Robert Fico’s statements in the documents, that the war was provoked by the Georgians, were described by American diplomats as rather unfortunate.
In one of the dispatches, the then-Charge d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Bratislava, Keith Eddins, reports on his talk with the Slovak Foreign Ministry’s political director Roman Buzek, saying that Buzek “implied Georgian actions had caused the immediate conflict, but said it would be necessary to look back more than two hundred years to find out who started it”.
The dispatch states that Buzek’s characterisation of the situation reflected Fico’s comments to journalists on August 13.
“I wouldn't view the situation as black and white, as some see it, because someone provoked the situation, and we know who provoked it,” Fico’s statement goes, as quoted by Eddins in the dispatch. “Then a reaction came, and that reaction was very strong, which is why we must cross our fingers and sit down at the table and resolve things. But I refuse to adopt a black-and-white view, that one side is good and the other bad.”
In later talks, the Slovak diplomats assured the U.S. Embassy in Bratislava of Fico’s assertion that the press had misquoted him and/or taken his comments out of context.
“The Slovak government was united in support of all six points contained in the ceasefire agreement and believes that now is not the time to engage in a "blame game" about who started the latest round of fighting,” then-state secretary of the Foreign Ministry, Oľga Algayerová, said.
An earlier dispatch reports on the meeting of the Foreign Ministry’s Director for Russia, NIS and the Balkans, Štefan Rozkopál with the Russian Ambassador to Slovakia.
“Rozkopál, who studied in Moscow and speaks fluent Russian, noted that the language used by both the Russian Ambassador in his meeting with the State Secretary and with him made a ‘highly negative’ impression,” the dispatch reads. “He claimed the Russian Ambassador actually referred to the ‘Soviet Union’, before correcting himself and made other such verbal ‘slips’ that created a very anachronistic atmosphere.”
These are only parts from the diplomatic messages obtained by WikiLeaks.
The messages also show that Slovakia was not among NATO countries with the toughest attitudes towards Russia, similar to the Czech Republic, Poland or Baltic countries. The Russian magazine has published all together three of the 1,172 leaked dispatches. These all pertain to the war between Russia and Georgia, and describe the ambiguous attitude of Slovakia.
3. Dec 2010 at 13:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff