Slovak-US DCA stirs controversy

Slovak-US DCA stirs controversy

On Tuesday, The Prosecutor-General's Office attached 35 fundamental objections to the draft Defence Cooperation Agreement between Slovakia and the USA, over which it entirely rejected the draft. On Thursday, Prime Minister Eduard Heger (OLaNO) issued a statement that he rejects any conspiracy theories related to the draft. According to the statement, the document is a standard framework agreement that regulates the conditions of defence cooperation. As Prime Minister added, all other countries on NATO's eastern border, including Poland and Hungary, have concluded this agreement with the USA as an essential member of the Alliance. "Slovakia is thus the last country to join," stressed the prime minister. Heger noted that it is a framework agreement that does not give any US soldier an automatic right to enter Slovakia. "Therefore, anyone who tries to create the impression that Slovakia is losing its sovereignty with this agreement or that the United States will be able to bring its equipment and weapons onto the territory of the Slovak Republic on the basis of this framework agreement has either not read this document or is deliberately misleading others," remarked the prime minister. He went on to state that any specific activities of the US Armed Forces on Slovak territory would have to be approved separately, either by the Slovak government or Parliament. "The entire process is therefore as transparent as possible," said Heger.

The agreement has been lambasted recently by both the opposition parliamentary party Smer-SD and the extra-parliamentary Voice-SD. Head of Smer-SD party Fico expressed his conviction that Heger wants to hand over two strategic airbases in Slovakia to the USA for a decade free of charge, adding that Prime Minister will allow the US Armed Forces to do whatever they please with the facilities.

The draft Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) between Slovakia and the USA does not involve setting up any permanent military bases in Slovakia; the US Armed Forces would be allowed to stay in Slovakia only with Bratislava’s permission, US Ambassador to Slovakia Bridget Brink has claimed in a statement. Brink noted that approval of the DCA is Slovakia’s decision as a sovereign and independent country. "The agreement does not imply and does not allow for the permanent presence of US forces in Slovakia," the ambassador stressed, adding that the document recognises Slovak law and jurisdiction. "The USA has similar agreements with the vast majority of our NATO allies, including Slovakia's neighbours Hungary and Poland," noted Brink.

The DCA between Slovakia and the USA would allow the US Armed Forces to use the Slovak military airports in Malacky-Kuchyna and Sliac, or other facilities and premises that the two sides would agree on. Slovakia would provide them rent-free. The agreement should be valid for ten years. After that, it could remain in force or be terminated with one year's notice.

Defence Minister Jaroslav Nad (OLaNO) informed that the document would allow Slovakia to draw approximately 100 million dollars for modernising the defence infrastructure. Any infrastructure built thanks to these resources would remain the property of Slovakia.

Source: TASR

Martina Šimkovičová, Photo: TASR

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