NATO’s Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, is paying an official visit to Slovakia on May 19 after having been invited by Slovakia's top representatives during their visit to NATO offices in Brussels last year, the SITA newswire reported.
Rasmussen is scheduled to meet with Slovak President Ivan Gašparovič, Speaker of the Slovak Parliament Richard Sulík, Prime Minister Iveta Radičová, Foreign Affairs Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda, Defence Minister Ľubomír Galko and Interior Minister Daniel Lipšic. The talks will focus on security and defence issues, SITA wrote. Rasmussen will also deliver a lecture and hold a discussion with students and members of the Slovak security sector in the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Bratislava, the press department of the Slovak Foreign Affairs Ministry announced.
After meeting with Radičová, Rasmussen said that NATO is disturbed by decreasing expenditures of its member countries on defence. Specifically, Slovakia has cut its defence ministry’s budget by 7 percent, the ČTK newswire wrote.
Rasmussen said that he understood the need for austerity measures and reductions in public expenditures but added that countries should face the current political challenges, ČTK reported with Radičová stressing the need to use available public funds in the most effective way while assuring Rasmussen that Slovakia’s priority was to continue to take part in missions in Cyprus and Afghanistan.
Source: SITA, ČTK
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19. May 2011 at 14:00