Slovak president to ratify US defense agreement with one condition

Slovakia's President Zuzana Caputova arrives for a NATO summit at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Monday, June 14, 2021. (Kenzo Tribouillard, Pool via AP)
By Lucie Ctverakova
2 Min Read

Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová has supported the approval of the defense agreement between Slovakia and the United States. However, she made its ratification conditional on an interpretation clause which will be part of the authorization given to one of the ministers.

“I support the agreement because I do not think that it threatens the Slovak Republic in any way, quite the contrary,” the President said.

“I consider the agreement to be a standard way to improve defense cooperation with allies. We are a member of the North Atlantic Alliance, and this agreement is intended to contribute to cooperation,” added Čaputová.

The head of state recalled that 23 of the 29 NATO member states had concluded a similar agreement with the U.S.

Opposition claims the treaty threatens Slovakia’s sovereignty

The defense agreement with the United States was approved last week by the government of Prime Minister Eduard Heger. However, the opposition and the Prosecutor General’s Office say the treaty threatens the country’s sovereignty.

Slovak Foreign Minister Ivan Korčok emphasized that the government had approved the agreement unanimously.

It has yet to be approved by the Slovak parliament. Subsequently, the president will ratify it. It should be valid for ten years with a one year notice period.

Based on this agreement, the United States could use the military airports of Kuchyňa in western Slovakia and Sliač in the central part of the country. Slovakia would receive over $100 million (€88.2 million) to modernize these airports.

However, the chairman of the Direction-Social Democracy opposition party, Robert Fico, claims that the agreement with the U.S. is disadvantageous for Slovaks and is contrary to the country’s sovereignty.

Fico says that the agreement will take precedence over Slovak laws, and the Slovak authorities will have limited control over U.S. soldiers.

The Slovak General Prosecutor’s Office also opposed the treaty, pointing out that Slovakia’s sovereignty could be significantly endangered. The office added that the agreement is in favor of the United States.

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