Saint Petersburg, October 16 (TASR correspondent) – Parliamentary Chairman Andrej Danko (Slovak National Party/SNS), who is taking part in the annual assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in St. Petersburg, Russia, stressed the importance of this event as an opportunity for bilateral meetings with parliamentary chairs from several continents.
Danko added that it’s a chance to take a new view of various international issues. “It’s very important that at such a level you can perceive many problems from a different point of view – the relations between the churches, the issue of ethnicity,” said Danko.
Earlier in the day the Slovak parliamentary chairman held talks with his counterparts from Monaco and Armenia, Christophe Steiner and Ara Babloyan, respectively. Danko and Babloyan arranged and set the date of the Armenian parliamentary chairman’s visit to Slovakia for the end of January.
Regarding the meeting with Steiner, Danko said that the two politicians agreed to create the first ever friendship group between the parliaments of Slovakia and Monaco. “At the same time we also agreed on the date of bilateral meetings,” said Danko, expressing his satisfaction that the meeting at the parliamentary level earlier in the day filled in a “tiny hole” in bilateral relations between the two countries.
“The Principality of Monaco has one of the few parliaments with which we haven’t had a friendship group,” explained Danko, adding that Slovakia is interested in deepening relations with Monaco in various areas, such as tourism, spas and balneotherapy; the chemicals, textile and clothing industries; pharmaceuticals and microelectronics.
Meanwhile, Danko also responded to criticism on the part of a number of Slovak media outlets concerning his working trip to Russia. He stressed that several European parliamentary delegations, including from Germany and Hungary, are participating in the event in St. Petersburg.
According to Danko, Slovakia has neglected many elements vis-a-vis relations with Russia. For example, it fails to make use of the potential of many Russian language teachers. “We’ve abandoned many things because we wanted to be different, but the idea of ethnic fellowship between the Slav nations and economic cooperation are necessary,” he said.
“I believe that the sanctions [against Russia] will be removed in the future and that trade will go up again. I can hear everywhere that, despite the sanctions, business with EU-member states has been flourishing. There are representatives of companies from the United States here, and I don’t think that we, Slovaks, should miss the train again,” said Danko.
The Slovak parliamentary chairman in Russia is attending the annual assembly of the IPU, the oldest international political organisation in the world. Along with the UN, the IPU is viewed as one of the supporting pillars of the current global political dialogue. A total of 173 countries and an additional 11 regional parliamentary assemblies belong to the organisation.