Bratislava, February 9 (TASR) – Parliament on Wednesday approved the Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) with the USA. Of the 140 MPs present, the document was supported by 79, while 60 voted against.
Slovakia and the USA signed the DCA in Washington on February 3. The agreement was concluded on behalf of Slovakia by Defence Minister Jaroslav Nad (OLaNO), while Secretary of State Antony Blinked inked the document for the USA. Slovak Foreign Affairs Minister Ivan Korcok (an SaS nominee) was also present at the signing.
The DCA is designed to allow the US Armed Forces to make use of Slovak military bases in Malacky-Kuchyna and Sliac and any other agreed facilities free of charge. The document should be valid for ten years. After this period, it could remain valid or be terminated with one year’s notice.
According to Government representatives, the DCA is intended to strengthen military cooperation between Slovakia and the USA. Both Nad and Korcok declared that it fully respects Slovakia’s sovereignty, denying that it would serve as a prerequisite for a permanent presence of the US Armed Forces on the territory of the country.
Meanwhile, the opposition has taken a critical approach towards the document, claiming that it allows US troops to close in on Russia’s borders and limits the powers of Slovak authorities.
President Zuzana Caputova, who still needs to sign the document as well in order for it to be fully ratified, has stated that she supports it. In an attempt to dispel public concerns regarding the document, she made sure her authorisation for signing the document by the Government includes an interpretation clause that addresses parts of the agreement that raise questions. The Americans also drafted an interpretation clause of their own, which, according to the president, corresponds to its Slovak counterpart in terms of contents.