We have to talk with the Russians, even if they call us enemies, says the new Foreign Affairs Minister MIROSLAV WLACHOVSKÝ in an interview with daily SME. The government can then adapt these relations to its needs, which, according to him, is already happening.
According to him, the inclination of Slovaks towards Russia also has historical reasons, as well as the view of Ukraine. The easiest way to peace is for Russia to withdraw, but the newly appointed minister thinks a more realistic scenario is that future peace negotiations will be shaped by the events on the battlefield in the coming months.
In the interview you will find:
- whether there is an imminent threat from Hungary,
- why are the coming months key to the outcome of the war in Ukraine,
- whether the Russian embassy is a threat to Slovakia,
- why is Slovakia more pro-Russian than neighbouring countries.
You were ex-PM Eduard Heger's advisor when he gave Viktor Orbán a Slovak scarf instead of the one with a map of the Hungarian Empire he had around his neck a short time before. What is the significance of a gesture like this in diplomacy?
It was not my idea, but I thought it was funny. You have to react to some things with wit, insight and lighten things up a bit. Especially if the atmosphere is saturated with emotions.
Do you have a similar gift ready for Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó?
No, I don't. I met my colleague for the first time as a minister at the Council for Foreign Affairs in Brussels. We shook hands and said how we would like our relations to be set up. It was originally agreed that the Slovak and Hungarian foreign ministers would meet once every six months, and now it would be time for a Slovak visit to Budapest. I want to approach relations with seriousness and with regard to the interests of Slovak citizens.
There are significant differences in our approaches; the war in Ukraine has changed relations in the V4 Group, and this does not only concern Slovak-Hungarian relations, but especially Hungarian-Polish relations. However, Hungary will always be a Slovak neighbour and we need to have working communication set up so that we can solve things for the benefit of citizens of both countries.
I am asking because your predecessor said a few months ago that if Russia had succeeded in Ukraine, Hungary would have already made territorial demands against Slovakia. What do think of Rastislav Kácer's statement?
Rastislav Káčer was the ambassador in Hungary for years, he knows the country, but I'm not going to comment on his statements and what happened. I want to look ahead. What is certain is that Slovakia has some issues with Hungary, which were already raised by Ivan Korčok and related to property purchases by Hungary.
An FA Minister is expected not only to communicate his/her own opinions, but in the case of such a strong statement to have it supported by the findings of specific state institutions. Do you have information that Hungary would like to proceed in this way?
I don't think that there is any acute threat to Slovakia.
Did Káčer's statement damage relations with Hungary?
Relations were also changing due to communication that did not come from our side. Hungary had its significant problems regarding the rule of law and how it was perceived by its partners in the European Union. I can talk about what we want to do, I'm not responsible for our partners in Hungary. I want our communication to be clear, proper, to take place through its channels and to avoid unnecessary surprises and invectives.
Is the V4 Group still a tool that Slovakia wants to use for communication in the Union, or is the Slavkov 3 format - Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Austria - more effective?