THE CASE of the remaining two Slovak paragliders still held in Iran was among the main issues discussed by Foreign Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák and his Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif, in New York on September 23. Six of the men who were detained in Iran on allegations of espionage in mid-May while on an expedition there returned to Slovakia in early September.
“I’d like to appreciate the helpfulness of the Iranian side when it comes to the six Slovak paragliders already released,” Lajčák said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. He also urged Zarif to resolve the case as quickly as possible and facilitate the successful return of the remaining paragliders home.
The eight Slovaks were detained in mid-May for what Iranian authorities called “illegal activities, including taking photos of prohibited places” in the Isfahan province, where several key nuclear facilities are located, including at least one plant used for enriching uranium. They are members of Paragliding Expedition Slovakia, a group that has organised several expeditions in recent years, and which made documentary films that they later presented at film festivals. The group reportedly travelled to Iran as tourists in early May.
During the press conference held on September 1, at which the released men appeared with Lajčák and Prime Minister Robert Fico, Fico said that two Slovaks remain detained on the territory of Iran, “since the Iranian authorities need to check on further suspicions”, even though Slovak authorities do have a plan for bringing these citizens home, as reported by the SITA newswire.
“It will not be simple, and I can confirm at this moment that the negotiations will be extraordinarily complicated,” Fico said, as quoted by SITA.
During his visit to New York, Lajčák also attended a ministerial dinner focused on the Middle East at the prestigious International Peace Institute held on September 22, together with foreign ministers from Europe and the Middle East, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Jan Eliasson and Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland.
The ministers and senior officials from international organisations addressed the issue of the renewal of the Middle East peace process as well as the current status of the conflicts in Syria and Egypt, TASR wrote.
Source: TASR, SITA
Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
24. Sep 2013 at 14:00