The Inaugural Audience Ceremony
This chapter details, step by step, the process whereby new heads of diplomatic missions accredited to the Slovak Republic present their letters of credence to the President of the Slovak Republic.
The President of the Slovak Republic usually receives four designated ambassadors every month to accept their letters of credence. The order in which they are received depends on the date on which the copies of the letters of credence were handed to the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. What follows is a brief account of the inaugural audience:
- On the day of the inaugural audience, a DPD official arrives at the agreed time and place to accompany the designated Ambassador of a foreign state to the ceremony. They then leave together in a DPD vehicle assigned for that purpose for the Presidential Palace. Members of the Ambassador’s suite (a maximum of three or four of the highest-ranking diplomats) follow in the car(s) of the embassy.
- On arrival at the Courtyard of Honour of the Presidential Palace, the Director of Protocol of the Office of the President bids welcome to the designated Ambassador and they proceed together to the red carpet. The Band of the Guard of Honour plays the national anthem of the Ambassador’s country. In the meantime, the members of the Ambassador’s suite are ushered to a designated place on the right side of the red carpet.
- The Ambassador, accompanied by the Director of Protocol, proceeds along the Guard of Honour and greets the Presidential Standard, at which point the guards salute the Ambassador. Before leaving the courtyard, the Ambassador bows to acknowledge gratitude for the ceremony.
- The Ambassador and the Director of Protocol then enter the Presidential Palace and proceed upstairs to the Great Hall. The Ambassador stands at a designated place awaiting the arrival of the President. The members of the Ambassador’s suite assemble in a row behind the Ambassador.
- The officials of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic stand in a row to the left of the Ambassador, while the members of the President’s suite are assembled on the Ambassador’s right.
- When the President enters the Great Hall and advances to the designated place, the Ambassador pronounces the following words, either in Slovak or in one of the UN official languages of his/her choice: “I present to you, Mr. President, the Letters of Credence by which (the title and name of the head of state of the sending country) has accredited me to Your Excellency as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of (name of the state).” Then the Ambassador advances towards the President and delivers his/her letters of credence.
- They then jointly proceed to the Ambassador’s suite and the Ambassador will introduce to the President the diplomatic officials of the embassy. Subsequently, the Director of Protocol will introduce the members of the President’s suite. After the introductions, both the President and Ambassador proceed to the Reception Hall for talks, accompanied by designated members of the President’s suite.
- After the talks, the Ambassador and his/her suite leave the Presidential Palace. At the exit from the palace, the Director of Protocol bids farewell to the Ambassador who is then accompanied by a DPD official to his/her residence or to another agreed place. The car provided by DPD bears the national flag of the Ambassador’s state. The remaining members of the diplomatic mission follow in their car(s).
Attendance with spouse
If the Ambassador’s spouse attends the ceremony, the spouse will be seated in the DPD vehicle together with the Ambassador. On arrival at the Courtyard of Honour of the Presidential Palace, the spouse will advance to the place designated for the Ambassador’s suite on the right of the red carpet, where he/she will stand at the head of the Ambassador’s suite. During the ceremony in the Great Hall, the spouse will be at the head of the Ambassador’s suite assembled in a row behind the Ambassador.
After the President has accepted the letters of credence and the members of both the Ambassador’s and President’s suites have been introduced, the spouses (of the President and Ambassador) will proceed to the Golden Salon for separate talks.
Recommended attire for the ceremony of presentation of credentials:
Lounge/business suit, preferably dark, or national costume
Gentlemen: dark suit or national costume
Ladies: cocktail dress or national costume
The ceremony may be viewed at: www.prezident.sk