10. 05. 2017 12:46
Slovakia remains a reliable ally for the United States within NATO and an important partner in the latter's efforts to boost political stability and economic prosperity in Europe, Slovak Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák and US Vice President Mike Pence's National Security Advisor Andrea Thompson concurred at a meeting in Washington on Tuesday. According to the Slovak Foreign and European Affairs press department, Lajčák confirmed Slovakia's interest in intensifying practical cooperation with the USA, noting that Slovakia is a reliable ally for the USA not only in Europe, as it has demonstrated by joining the US-led operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Slovak minister also reported on the content of his recent talks with Ukrainian officials in Kyiv, presenting the Ukrainian views of how the Minsk Agreements are being implemented and on activities of the Normandy Group. When it came to the situation in the Western Balkans, Lajčák expressed concerns about recent developments in the region, calling on closer coordination of activities performed by the EU and USA in the area.
"We're witnessing a weakening of pro-European forces in the Western Balkans. We must step up our influence and engagement. If we don't do it, other players will boost their activities in the area we'll have abandoned, as we've already been witnessing. Meanwhile, it's obvious that there's no better alternative for the region than European prospects," said Lajčák, appreciating Thompson's decision to attend the Globsec international security conference in Bratislava later this month. At talks with White House senior director for Russia and Europe Fiona Hill, Lajčák discussed mainly Russia and its policies towards neighbouring countries, with a special focus on Ukraine. Lajčák pointed out that there's a need to relaunch the Minsk process and look for a political solution to the situation in south-eastern Ukraine. "Despite the existing differences in our and Russia's views of the world, we must keep open communication channels. We've set principles and platform for such communication on the NATO soil, but, unfortunately, we're lacking this on the EU soil," added Lajčák.