Bratislava, July 12 (TASR) – Slovakia supports every effort aimed at curbing terrorism and halting the funding of terrorist activities, stated Slovakia’s Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajcak at a press conference after meeting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Bratislava on Wednesday.
It was the first official visit of a foreign affairs minister of the United Arab Emirates to Slovakia. The talks mainly focused on the Qatar diplomatic crisis that began when several countries including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Egypt cut off diplomatic relations with the country in June. They cited Qatar’s support for terrorism as the main reason for their actions.
“I’m very glad that after the re-opening of our Embassy in Abu Dhabi in December 2013, our mutual relations have gained tremendous dynamics,” said Lajcak, adding that the two countries have since then signed important documents including an agreement to prevent double taxation and an agreement for investment support. He went on to say that the two countries also created a joint economic committee and inked an agreement on air services.
The two ministers at the meeting earlier in the day also signed a memorandum of consultations between the two foreign affairs ministries. “It’s really hard to name any other country with which we have done so much in such a short period of time,” said Lajcak, adding that there is an interest in cooperating also in the sectors of tourism, education, health care and economy.
Regarding the Qatar crisis, the Sheikh Abdullah said that the country’s credibility has been distorted and it has to do a lot to restore it. “We’ve decided not to be merciful to certain fundamentalist and terrorist groups and to groups calling for hatred. Our area has suffered a lot,” said Abdullah, noting that Qatar is welcomed if it wants to form part of the group combating terrorism. However, the country has to adopt plenty of measures in order to persuade the other Arab countries of its intentions, added Abdullah.
Asked by a journalist about other Arab countries that have supported terrorism financially, the Sheikh refused to comment on any specific country in this regard. “However, I can say responsibly that our region has been affected by terrorism a lot,” he said, admitting that the Arab countries have made some mistakes in this regard just like the US and Europe.
The Sheikh further stressed that the Arab countries are currently participating in the fight against terrorism. “What we ask from Qatar, we ask from ourselves as well. We don’t ask it to take measures beyond what we ask from ourselves. The issue of terrorism is long-term and requires efforts from all states,” he said.