Kiska: Defence should be priority after election

DEFENCE is a topic that we need to discuss constantly, said Slovak President Andrej Kiska after the annual assembly of Slovak Armed Forces Chief of General Staff Milan Maxim at the Defence Ministry on February 11.

From right to left: former defence minister Martin Glváč with Chief of the General Staff of the Slovak Armed Forces Milan Maxim and President Andrej Kiska.From right to left: former defence minister Martin Glváč with Chief of the General Staff of the Slovak Armed Forces Milan Maxim and President Andrej Kiska. (Source: TASR)

The protection of Slovakia and its citizens is an important topic at the moment according to Kiska, who went on to say that he wants this to remain the case after the general election which is due to be held on March 5, the TASR newswire reported.

“We need to talk about defence seriously, especially in relation to our armed forces and NATO,” Kiska said, as quoted by TASR.

The Slovak president is pleased that the Defence Ministry has launched the programme of modernisation, which was discussed at last year’s assembly.

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“There’s still a lot ahead of us, but I’m glad it’s started,” said Kiska, as quoted by TASR, adding that this is one of the basic tasks that Slovakia needs to carry through. NATO used to criticise Slovakia’s defence force for its lack of modernisation.

2015 was the best year in terms of modernisation over the past 20 years, according to Defence Minister Martin Glváč.

“Over the past four years we’ve succeeded at last in purchasing Spartan transport aircraft. In addition, all defence concept materials have already been approved by the Cabinet,” Glváč said, as quoted by TASR.

A public tender for the purchase of radar equipment has been factored into the budget, according to Glváč.

“What will come out of it is up to people to decide based on their decisions in the [general] election,” said Glváč, as quoted by TASR.

This assembly provides a good opportunity for exchanging differing opinions. The assembly evaluated military training, exercises and missions in 2015 and presented the projects planned for 2016, according to Glváč, adding that the Defence Ministry wants to focus on developing its ground forces and the air force.

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