Pellegrini: Slovakia’s Decision to Reject US Aid Not Final

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Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini (Stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, March 13 (TASR) – The decision to reject US financial aid for modernising Slovak air bases is not final but rather just the opinion of Defence Minister Peter Gajdos (Slovak National Party/SNS) at this stage, with Slovakia due to announce its definitive stance only after official talks within the Coalition Council next week, Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini indicated on Wednesday.

Speaking before the Government session on the same day, Pellegrini announced that he also intends to discuss the matter with the chiefs of diplomacy and defence.

“If it’s advantageous for our country and without any impact on our sovereignty; if it won’t be explicit consent to allow the militaries of foreign countries to roam freely here and there in our country without supervision, we would be you-know-what if we turned down that €105 million,” stated the prime minister.

Pellegrini underlined that decisions on agreements must be made only when a definitive draft is on the table. He called for rational decision-making informed by facts and not needless emotions.

The prime minister also thinks that he shouldn’t have to learn of such important Defence Ministry decisions from newspapers. He pointed out that statements on the issue are also monitored abroad and that Slovakia must strive to preserve its international reputation. “I declared in Strasbourg as recently as yesterday that the Government under my leadership won’t budge an inch from its clear pro-European and pro-Atlantic orientation,” he stressed.

The Defence Ministry announced on Monday (March 11) that it will no longer participate in talks on receiving financial help to reconstruct air bases as part of a Defence Cooperation Agreement with the United States, as the agreement would put Slovakia’s sovereignty in jeopardy. According to the ministry, the offer from the United States failed to reflect operational requests by the Slovak Armed Forces. This decision caught the Foreign Affairs Ministry by surprise. It stated on Monday that the Defence Ministry hadn’t consulted such a move with it beforehand.