The Western Balkans, countries of the Eastern Partnership and the Middle East were the key topics of a meeting between Slovak Foreign Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák and representatives of the US State Department in Washington, the Foreign Affairs Ministry told the TASR newswire on July 25.
"Like the United States, Slovakia also supports the process of democratic transformation in the Western Balkans and the Eastern Partnership. We're convinced that if they meet all the requirements, the countries of the Western Balkans in particular should be given the chance to become EU and NATO members," stated Lajčák, as quoted by TASR. The US State Department representatives acknowledged Slovakia's engagement in these countries as well as in Tunisia and Moldova. Both sides expressed their concern over the widespread violence in Syria and over Iran's nuclear programme.
Lajčák also met with John Mica and Joe Wilson members of the US Congress, who both have close ties to Slovakia – Mica is a descendant of Slovak immigrants and Wilson is co-chair of the Slovak Congressional Committee. According to the ministry's press department, Lajcak and the congressmen stated that the level of bilateral relations is very good based on dialogue at the legislative level as three delegations from the US Congress have visited Slovakia this year.
Lajčák had a discussion with the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, James Miller, about cooperation between the two countries within NATO and in the ISAF mission in Afghanistan as well as cooperation between the Slovak Armed Forces with the National Guard of the State of Indiana. Both agreed on the need of leaving an open door for accepting further countries into NATO.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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