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Lajčák Gives an Address at CEPA Conference and Holds Important Political Negotiations

Lajčák Gives an Address at CEPA Conference and Holds Important Political Negotiations

4.4.2019 | Aktivity ministra | Predsedníctvo Slovenska v OBSE |

Miroslav Lajčák, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, yesterday (3 April 2019) on the second day of his working visit to the USA, gave an address in Washington as one of the keynote speakers at the conference entitled " NATO at 70: Commemorating the Past. Preparing for the Future”, organized by the renowned think-tank, the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), held on the occasion of the  70th  anniversary of the founding of the North Atlantic Alliance. The Minister stated that NATO was formed as a result of the developments in Europe after World War II. In this regard he quoted the former American President Harry Truman, who said that if the Alliance had already existed before 1914, two world wars that the world experienced in the 20th century could have been avoided. The head of Slovak diplomacy recalled that today three NATO member states are permanent members of the Security Council of the Organization of the United Nations (UN) and most of the countries in the Alliance are also in the European Union.  Lajčák stated that over seven decades a strong tie between the USA and Europe was formed based on the membership in the North Atlantic Alliance.  “And although we have not always agreed on everything, we have been united by a common attitude towards fundamental values such as democracy, freedom and the rule of law,” stated Lajčák. He added that the desire to become members of the NATO umbrella motivated several post-communist countries to implement as soon as possible political and economic reforms, to normalize relations with their neighbors, to eliminate nationalist populism and also to achieve national pride.  “It is sad that now 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, in some countries we observe a tendency to put the successes we have achieved in doubt,” stated Lajčák. He also called for unity in the present turbulent times when we jointly face several challenges internationally. Also in this regard he recalled Slovakia’s intention and commitment to spend 2% of its GDP on defense, which we plan to achieve in 2022. The Minister also emphasized the necessity to preserve the open-door principle for other potential applicants to gain membership in the Alliance on the condition that they meet the required criteria as was the case for our country in 2004. “For Slovakia 2019 means not only the 70th anniversary of the founding of the North Atlantic Alliance but also 15 years of our membership in this important security and political association,” accentuated the head of Slovak diplomacy in his address. 

 

Yesterday Lajčák also talked with John Bolton, the US President’s National Security Advisor. The partners followed up on the February visit of Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State, to Bratislava, and paid attention to bilateral and transatlantic cooperation, selected foreign policy issues, as well as concrete opportunities for cooperation in promoting the priorities of Slovakia’s Chairmanship in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) this year. Minister Lajčák also highlighted the importance of the transatlantic tie as the United States of America and Europe, whether at NATO or the EU-USA platform, continue to remain the closest partners and key allies. “Slovakia and the United States, in addition to their common history and values, are also important trading partners and investors.  We are bound to each other, although there are issues and topics we don’t agree on. However, together we are stronger,” underlined Lajčák. The Slovak Republic cooperates with the USA in many areas – from the collaboration in NATO, or the long-term cooperation of the Slovak Armed Forces with the Indiana National Guard, through joint projects in the context of development and transformation assistance in regions and spheres which are priorities for Slovak foreign policy (Ukraine, Moldova, Western Balkans, energy, trade, investments, security, as well as counter-terrorism).

 

One important item on Minister’s Lajčák agenda in the USA was the presentation of the priorities of Slovakia’s Chairmanship in the OSCE at the  U.S. Helsinki Commission established by Congress, where he also personally met with its Chair, Congressman Alcee Hastings. In this regard he stated that for Slovakia it was more than a symbolic moment to take over this role in the year we commemorate the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Iron Curtain and the Velvet Revolution. In his address the head of Slovak diplomacy called upon the forces of multilateralism. “In this difficult time the nations must jointly contribute to building stability, security and prosperity not only in the OSCE, but also in the world,” he stated in this regard.  He also warned about the danger posed today by the tendency towards isolationism and unilateralism. The Minister also summarized all the steps Slovakia has made this year in its efforts to regulate conflicts, including the so-called frozen ones in the territory of the former Soviet Union, with the primary objective of helping civilians who are suffering due to the stagnation or further deepening of these conflicts. 

 
 

Photographs can be downloaded at www.mzv.sk.