The US Ambassador to Slovakia, Theodore Sedgwick, met with Prime Minister Robert Fico on April 25 to discuss defence policy and the TASR newswire reported that the US would welcome more investment by Slovakia in defence while also writing that the ambassador recognises the deployment of Slovak armed forces in international operations and the country’s current economic situation.
"Of course, we would like to see bolstering of the defence budget; however, we have to remain realistic. It's difficult seeing it happening as Slovakia has to meet the deficit limit of three-percent of GDP [by 2013]," Sedgwick told TASR after the meeting, adding that "this will require greater economic growth, but Slovakia is an outstanding partner in the field of defence."
Slovakia currently spends about 1.1 percent of GDP on defence and NATO expects its member states’ defence spending to equal 2 percent. This commitment is not fulfilled by a number of countries at the moment and both Defence Minister Martin Glváč and Fico have already announced that Slovakia will not reach the 2-percent threshold in the foreseeable future.
Fico and Sedgwick also discussed other areas of cooperation between Slovakia and USA, with the American ambassador underlining joint interests in business and diplomacy. TASR wrote that the ambassador inquired about the priorities of the new government and wished it much success.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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