Slovak PM Peter Pellegrini (Smer) will not travel to the French region of Normandy, where the world will mark the 75th anniversary of the start of Operation Overlord during World War II, commonly known as D-Day.
At the time, he will be visiting Russia.
Although the invitation from British PM Theresa May allegedly arrived sooner than the one from the Kremlin, Pellegrini travelled to Moscow instead, where he is to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Denník N daily reported.
As the daily pointed out, the Slovak PM did not even tell the truth at first, since he said on the Na Telo political programme on the private TV Markíza network that it was not him who had been invited to Normandy but President Andrej Kiska.
“PM Peter Pellegrini has received the only invitation for Slovakia to celebrate the landings of the Allies in Normandy,” said the president's spokesperson Roman Krpelan, as quoted by Denník N.
Since Pellegrini is not coming, Slovakia will be represented by Richard Raši, a deputy PM for investments and informatisation. He will sit next to world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Donald Trump, Denník N wrote.
Which invitation came first?
Although Pellegrini has meanwhile admitted that he was, in fact, invited to Normandy, it is not clear which of the two invitations arrived first.
“Given the fact that it [May's invitation] came only after the Government Office confirmed the visit of the Slovak PM in Moscow,” said Pellegrini's spokesperson, Patrícia Macíková, as quoted by Denník N, “the Government Office then checked at the Presidential Palace whether the president could represent the country at this event.”
However, when the invitation from the Kremlin arrived, Pellegrini had already confirmed the visit to Normandy. Hence, he asked Kiska to help him solve the situation, Denník N reported.
SaS: A win for Russia's diplomacy
The opposition Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party has already slammed Pellegrini's decision and Foreign Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák's inactivity in its press release.
“The government has sent out a message to the EU and NATO that its priorities are in Moscow,” said SaS head Richard Sulík, as quoted in the press release.
The party went on to say that Slovak diplomacy has failed while Russian diplomacy has scored.
5. Jun 2019 at 13:40 | Compiled by Spectator staff