Bratislava, February 12 (TASR) – The relationship between Slovakia and the USA has been built on common values that need to be protected, said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in his speech at the Gate of Freedom memorial at the foot of Devin Castle on Tuesday, adding that the USA is ready to serve as a friend, partner and ally of Slovakia in the decades ahead.
The head of US diplomacy met representatives of the Confederation of Political Prisoners at the memorial and praised their courage. “Memorials like the one I’m standing by right now ensure that we don’t forget what’s at stake,” said Pompeo, adding that it’s a tremendous honour for him to pay tribute to the memory of more than 400 people who lost their lives trying to flee Communism. “They knew that to run away meant to risk their lives, but in spite of that, they tried to do it. That’s the human desire for freedom,” he said.
Pompeo also mentioned his experience with the Iron Curtain, when, as a young soldier, he patrolled the border with Czechoslovakia. He approved of Slovakia’s decision to join the community of transatlantic democracies after the fall of Communism. “Slovakia has never been more independent and more prosperous than today,” he said. He warned, however, of forces that threaten common values on which the American-Slovak friendship partly stand, mentioning Russian aggression that “undermines freedom on this continent” and China, which “suppresses human rights and is increasing its influence abroad”.
The head of US diplomacy will also meet President Andrej Kiska, Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini (Smer-SD) and Foreign Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajcak (a Smer-SD nominee) on Tuesday.