Fico: Arms Are Business Product, If We Don’t Sell, Someone Else Will

Prime Minister Robert Fico (stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, July 29 (TASR) – Neither the Government, nor its prime minister can be held accountable if weapons originating from Slovakia emerge in a conflict somewhere abroad, said Prime Minister Robert Fico on Friday.

Fico was speaking in response to criticism over the fact that Slovak governments in the past have greenlighted the sale of arms to the Middle East and that the weapons have ended up in the hands of Islamic State and terrorist organisations.

“I certainly don’t view this as something immoral. I reject being linked with or even awarded responsibility for terrorism in the world because some weapons from Slovakia emerged somewhere,” said Fico.

“Arms are a normal business product. If we don’t sell them, somebody else will, but don’t come crying to me if a lack of arms deals causes the loss of jobs for our people. I, for one, have never had a problem with this,” claimed the prime minister.

In the 1990s countries that criticised Slovakia for producing arms subsequently took over arms markets at Slovakia’s expense, said Fico. “So let’s stop being foolish. Let’s have our own common sense, and, most importantly, the courage to talk openly about these things.”

Earlier this week British daily The Guardian and several news agencies reported that a number of central and eastern European countries have approved arms deals worth more than a billion euros within the past four years to countries in the Middle East that were known to be supplying weapons to Syria.

Slovakia was among the countries in question, supplying AK-47 assault rifles, mortars, rocket launchers, RPGs and machine guns, according to the British daily.

Subsequently, the weapons and ammunition were identified in photographs and video recordings posted on social networks as being used not only by units supported by the West, but also by fighters from Islamist factions such as Al-Nusra Front, ISIS and by groups supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.