SLOVAKIA is planning to build a logistics base in Poprad for use by NATO, Slovak Defence Minister Martin Glváč stated after the end of the NATO summit in Newport, Wales on September 5. Prime Minister Robert Fico supports providing training and logistical aid for NATO forces, but rejects having a NATO base on Slovak territory.
NATO will respond to Russian aggression in Ukraine by creating a rapid response force that would be able to react to any situation within two to three days anywhere in the world. The NATO member states want to strengthen the alliance’s presence in eastern Europe through these forces. Slovakia, however, will not join the rapid response force for now.
It is too early to say how much we will contribute, said Slovak Ambassador to NATO Tomáš Valášek, explaining that Slovakia’s rotation in NATO forces will occur in 2017, the Sme daily reported.
For now, Slovakia will probably join these efforts by establishing a logistics centre in Poprad. According to President Andrej Kiska, the centre would also store ammunition for possible interventions, TASR newswire reported.
Poprad was chosen for the logistics centre since it is already home to a supply facility that was established in the 1950s. According to Glváč, the facility stores out-dated and obsolete supplies like spare components for tanks and other vehicles no longer used by the army. Recently, however, there were discussions about closing down the facility, according to Sme, calling into question whether the NATO facility would in fact be opened there.
Defence Ministry spokesperson Martina Balleková said that the logistics facility is only one of the possibilities through which Slovakia can help its allies. The country, for example, is also prepared to train Ukrainian soldiers for clearing mines, according to Sme.
During the NATO summit the country also promised to increase the number of soldiers at the headquarters in Szczecin, Poland, and offered its airports in Sliač and Lešť for training. In addition, Slovakia promised not to lower its defence budget. The Slovak delegation also agreed to allocate 20 percent of its defence budget to modernisation as of 2016, and by 2020 it should allocate 1.6 percent of the country’s GDP for defence purposes, according to TASR.
Fico supports modernising the Slovak army but only if it does not increase the country’s debt and hinder the living standard of its citizens.
“[There will be] no increase in expenses for the military that could lead to increasing the country’s debt or decreasing the living standard of the people,” Fico said during a political debate on private TV news channel TA3, TASR reported. “This is the philosophy of my government, to which we adhere.”
As for Slovakia’s aid to Ukraine, Glváč revealed that delegations of both countries are set to meet in Ukraine in the near future to hold talks on the specific form of Slovakia’s planned assistance to its conflict-stricken neighbour, according to TASR.
(Source: TASR, Sme, TA3)
Compiled by Roman Cuprik from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
8. Sep 2014 at 14:00