Washington/Bratislava, February 4 (TASR) – Slovakia and the USA signed the Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) in Washington on Thursday (February 3) evening.
Defence Minister Jaroslav Nad (OLaNO) signed the agreement on behalf of Slovakia, while Secretary of State Antony Blinken did so for the USA. The agreement is yet to be okayed by the Slovak Parliament and ratified by the Slovak president.
“The level of cooperation between Slovakia and the United States has been excellent for a long time. Defence cooperation with the United States has significantly contributed to the successful transformation and modernisation of the Slovak Army, especially the air force and the special operations force. We’re giving a legal framework to this cooperation today. It’s an expression of our joint commitment as NATO allies in relation to trans-Atlantic security,” Defence Ministry spokesperson Martina Koval Kakascikova reported Nad as saying following the signing ceremony.
Slovak Foreign Affairs Minister Ivan Korcok was also present at the ceremony. “Strengthening defence cooperation with the main guarantor of our security, especially at a time of deepening uncertainties and geopolitical tensions, is a natural step for Slovakia. In addition, we should realise that we are the last country on the EU and NATO eastern border to do so,” he said.
Blinken highlighted the agreement’s benefits for the two countries before the ceremonial signing. At the same time, he objected to disinformation surrounding the agreement, stressing that the document is based on mutual cooperation and respect and represents the interests of both governments.
The agreement will enable US military forces to use Slovakia’s Malacky-Kuchyna and Sliac military airbases and other facilities and premises as per agreement for a period of ten years. The Government representatives declared that the agreement doesn’t endanger Slovakia’s sovereignty. The opposition criticises the DCA, claiming that it will allow US military bases to be set up, bring US troops closer to Russia’s borders and curtail the powers of Slovakia’s state authorities.