Wrapping up the ISAF mission in Afghanistan and boosting defence cooperation and investments were among the issues discussed by Slovak Defence Minister Martin Glváč and US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel on January 8 during Glváč’s visit to the US.
Praising bilateral cooperation within NATO – and especially concerning Afghanistan – Hagel told his Slovak counterpart that the US highly values Slovakia as a strategic ally. The US Defence Secretary went on to thank Slovakia for its commitment to invest more into the modernisation of its armed forces and interoperability, and how this paves the way for further bilateral cooperation. Glváč assured Hagel that Slovak servicemen will continue to serve in Afghanistan within the new, non-combat mission.
“Slovak Parliament approved the mandate for members of the Slovak Armed Forces to serve in the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan,” Glváč said as quoted by the TASR newswire after meeting Hagel in the Pentagon. “We’ve deployed 66 professional soldiers in support of the Allies’ efforts in the mission.”
“Our defence cooperation has lasted for more than 20 years and it has contributed in a major way towards the modernisation of the Slovak Armed Forces,” Slovak minister further said. “We want to continue this cooperation. Thanks to financial assistance, which has been used by our country for several years, we’ve been able to move ahead with the transformation process of our armed forces.”
The minister went on to say that as for the latest modernisation projects, the US has offered its assistance with acquisitions, including multi-purpose helicopters. Furthermore, the Slovak minister told Hagel about the measures taken by Slovakia in response to the situation in Ukraine. In this regard, Hagel praised Slovakia for securing the reverse flow of gas.
Glváč was in the US last week within an official visit together with Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Slovakia Milan Maxim. The US Ambassador to Slovakia, Theodore Sedgwick said that this was an opportunity for Hagel to thank Glváč for Slovakia’s commitment to increase the defence budget to 1.6 percent of GDP by 2020 and also increase the expenses on modernisation. Glváč thanked the US ambassador for good cooperation and for arranging the meeting.
Glváč also met with Indiana’s Governor Mike Pence, inviting him to Slovakia where it will be possible to discuss the issues of cooperation also with other experts. Slovak minister noted, as quoted by the SITA newspaper, that the cooperation between Slovakia and Indiana could exceed the sector of defence.
Glváč appreciated, too, the help of Adjutant General of the Indiana National Guard Martin Umbager with the development of the mutual relations between Slovak armed forces and the US army. He recalled the Ground Pepper 2014 army training held in Slovakia last October which was also attended by the Indiana National Guard. Maxim, too, praised the cooperation which developed gradually, from theoretical preparation through joint training to participation in international missions.
(Source: TASR, SITA)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
12. Jan 2015 at 14:00