Slovakia should conclude a defence cooperation agreement with the US. The Slovak Defence Ministry has submitted the proposal for an interdepartmental review procedure, Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď (OĽaNO) said.
The document should circumscribe the rules of cooperation and enable money to be drawn in favour of the Slovak Armed Forces. The minister declared that the agreement fully respects Slovakia’s sovereignty.
“It is an absolutely standard international agreement which was signed today by 23 member states of NATO out of the 29 states outside of the US,” Naď said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. Such countries include Hungary and Poland, for example.
“It will ease many things for us; it will standardise the cooperation which is ongoing,” he noted and added that discussion about the agreement started in 2018 under the former government.
In the first phase, the agreement should earmark USD 100 million to modernise the defence infrastructure. The chair of the ministry said that investments in the airports are especially needed. He emphasised that any infrastructure built will be the property of Slovakia.
Logical step, MFA says
Foreign Affairs Minister Ivan Korčok (SaS nominee) added that Slovakia is the last of all countries in the so-called eastern wing of NATO that does not have such an agreement. He considers the agreement to be a logical step taking into consideration previous intensive cooperation with the US.
“A politically declared strategic alliance with the United States turns into an alliance of an operational nature,” Korčok said, as quoted by TASR.
He emphasised that US Armed Forces will do nothing in Slovakia without the country's knowledge and agreement. According to him, the agreement does not presume a permanent US presence on the territory of Slovakia.
The text of the agreement was approved within the coalition, according to Naď. Korčok also expects negotiations with the opposition. The government should discuss the agreement in January 2022. It should be approved by parliament too and ratified by the president.
Zmeko welcomes the agreement
The Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces Daniel Zmeko welcomes the agreement. According to him, administratively it will simplify joint training activities and set precise rules for dealing with related situations.
It will also provide an opportunity to improve compliance and better align plans when looking for answers to current security challenges. Due to the state of the Armed Forces infrastructure, it also welcomes the announced investments.
Negotiations by the previous government on a Defence Cooperation Agreement with the United States have begun. Former defence minister Peter Gajdoš (SNS) decided not to take part in them. He argued that the adoption of the agreement would jeopardise Slovakia's sovereignty.