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NATO Secretary General praises Slovakia's contributions to shared security

NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

10 Sep. 2015

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg arrived in Bratislava on Thursday (10 September 2015) for discussions on new security challenges to the east and the south. In Bratislava, Mr Stoltenberg met with President Andrej Kiska, Prime Minister Robert Fico, State Secretary Igor Slobodník and other high level officials, thanking them for Slovakia's "continued commitment" to the Alliance's shared security.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Minister of Defence Martin Glváč, Mr Stoltenberg thanked Slovakia for being a "committed Ally". The Secretary General highlighted Slovakia's role in Afghanistan, thanking Slovak troops for helping to train, advise, and assist the Afghan Security Forces. He further commended Slovakia for its financial contributions to the Afghan National Trust Fund. Mr Stoltenberg also praised the country's close work with other Allies to improve capabilities, highlighting Slovakia's participation in the multinational aviation training centre in the Czech Republic.

The Secretary General also welcomed Slovakia's commitment to Allies' pledge to spend 2% of GDP on defence, saying "the fact that you are increasing your defence budget is of great importance to the Alliance."

While expressing concern over the situation in Ukraine, Mr. Stoltenberg welcomed the recently "renewed commitment to a sustainable ceasefire", calling it a fresh opportunity for all parties to fully implement the Minsk Agreements. He further called on Russia to stop its "deliberate destabilisation of Eastern Ukraine" through its support for the separatists. The Secretary General commended Slovakia for being part of NATO's efforts to help support Ukraine, both politically and practically.

In his bilateral discussions, Mr. Stoltenberg and the Slovak leadership discussed how NATO is adapting to meet new challenges. The Secretary General highlighted the Alliance's strengthened NATO Response Force; the new Spearhead Force; faster decision-making; and six new small headquarters in Eastern European Allies. "This shows our resolve to stand by each other," he said.

Later during his visit, Mr Stoltenberg will meet with Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák, and Speaker of the National Assembly, Peter Pellegrini. Topics for discussion will include the Alliance's Readiness Action Plan and the upcoming NATO summit due to take place in Warsaw in July 2016.

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