General prosecutor: 1968 invasion agreement more advantageous than the US defence deal

Parliamentary discussion accompanied by several incidents and a protest.

MPs discuss the Defence Cooperation Agreement between Slovakia and the USA.MPs discuss the Defence Cooperation Agreement between Slovakia and the USA. (Source: TASR)

The parliament launched a discussion on the Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) between Slovakia and the United States on February 8.

The agreement was recently signed by Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď (OĽaNO) and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington, but it still needs the approval of the parliament and subsequently the president.

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The MPs are expected to continue in session until the debate is over, with the voting on the deal scheduled for February 9 at 11:00. It is not clear how many will support the deal, as some coalition deputies planned to vote against it. Moreover, the voting may be affected by Covid as some deputies need to be under home isolation, the Sme daily reported.

Slovak-US defence pact encounters fierce resistance Read more 

The parliamentary debate has been accompanied by several incidents from the very beginning, which include the blockade of the speaker’s desk and booing (mostly by far-right politicians) and protest held in front of the parliamentary building attended by several hundred people.

General prosecutor not allowed to speak

Originally, General Prosecutor Maroš Žilinka came to the session, expressing his will to read an address concerning the DCA. He is known as the critic of the agreement. During the interdepartmental review process, he submitted 35 fundamental objections to the draft and his office has rejected it as a whole.

Yet, the MPs did not allow him to speak to the plenum. He then left, evading journalists.

The employees of the General Prosecutor’s Office subsequently handed copies of his address to the journalists. Over 25 pages, Žilinka explains why the DCA is disadvantageous for Slovakia.

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Opposition protest lured hundreds to downtown Bratislava Read more 

He called the interpretation clauses attached to the agreement by both Slovakia and the USA insignificant, and even called the agreement on the stay of Soviet soldiers on the territory of Czechoslovakia after the 1968 invasion more advantageous than the current defence deal with the USA.

“A person’s own opinion and will are actually his honour,” he claimed.

Žilinka later wrote on Facebook that he wanted to ask the MPs to show their disagreement with the DCA.

Incidents caused by far-right politicians

The parliamentary discussion has been interrupted several times, mostly due to incidents initiated by the far-right MPs.

Members of the People’s Party Our Slovakia (ĽSNS) led by Marian Kotleba came to the speaker’s desk, carrying the Slovak flag, without covering their faces. The current valid rules stipulate that people are required to wear FFP2 respirators inside any building, apart from their own household.

Later, they were joined by the MPs for the junior coalition party Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), who brought and unfolded the Ukrainian flag. One ĽSNS MP subsequently snatched the flag and even snatched off the respirator from one deputy’s face. Another SaS MP was drenched in water.

The ĽSNS MPs then continued blocking the speaker’s desk, despite being ordered to leave the assembly hall by Speaker of Parliament Boris Kollár (Sme Rodina).

During the speeches of several MPs, including Defence Minister Naď, the far-right MPs were booing and blowing whistles, so it was not sufficiently clear what the MPs were saying. Some from the far-right were even listening to music played from their computers.

President gives conditional support for US defence agreement Read more 

Responding to these incidents, Za Ľudí MP Juraj Šeliga said that he will propose at the March session the creation of a parliamentary guard to prevent similar incidents in the future.

“The behaviour of Kotleba’s MPs today is unacceptable,” he wrote on Facebook.

This behaviour has been condemned by several other coalition politicians.

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