Blinken, Slovak defence chief sign security cooperation agreement

World Friday 04/February/2022 07:40 AM
Blinken, Slovak defence chief sign security cooperation agreement

Washington: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Slovak Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad delivered remarks on the two countries' history of partnership before signing a new defence cooperation agreement during a ceremony in Washington.

"This agreement makes it easier for our militaries to coordinate on common defensive efforts, like conducting joint training, exercises. It will create more regular consultation between our countries on threats to our people, to international peace and security," Blinken said during the signing ceremony on Thursday.

Blinken in brief remarks said the agreement will not create permanent US military bases in Slovakia or authorize the permanent presence of US forces in the country. The Slovak government will also have to approve the agreement before final implementation, he added.

Nad said during his remarks prior to the signing said the agreement also demonstrates the US and Slovakia's shared commitment to trans-Atlantic security as NATO allies.

On Monday, Prime Minister Eduard Heger said Slovakia is ready to support strengthening NATO in Eastern Europe if the Slovak and European interests call for it.

The agreement will enable the US to use several Slovak military airfields and bases free of charge for 10 years, with the possibility of extension and provides USD 100 million for the modernization of Slovak defence infrastructure, according to earlier reports.

Slovak opposition parties have protested the agreement, claiming inconsistencies with Slovak national law and requesting review by the country's Constitutional Court.