Bratislava, January 20 (TASR) – Slovak President Zuzana Caputova supports the conclusion of the Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) with the USA, TASR learnt on Thursday.
However, part of the authorisation to sign, which she’ll give to a member of the Government within the process of its adoption, will be an interpretation statement of how Slovakia sees the agreement. She did not find any conflict with the Slovak Constitution from constitutional lawyers, therefore she won’t address the Constitutional Court.
“As part of the interpretative statement, we tried to capture and explain all the most mentioned, controversial points that are associated with fears by part of the public. It will be part of the authorisation that I’ll give to the [Government] member, and I’ll ratify the deal only with this interpretation clause,” said the head of state.
The interpretation clause is intended to state, for example, that the agreement will be implemented in a way that doesn’t in any way endanger or limit Slovakia’s sovereignty and doesn’t reduce the security of the Slovak Republic. Also, it doesn’t mean a decision to create military bases in Slovakia or the presence of US forces. It should also mention that the agreement doesn’t allow the presence of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons in Slovakia. At the same time, the treaty doesn’t constitute a definitive waiver of criminal jurisdiction.
The head of state considers the agreement to be a standard way to improve defence cooperation with our partners, emphasising that this is a framework agreement. “I think it would help to have a wider acceptance of this treaty if it were formulated in a way that doesn’t create interpretive misunderstandings. Nevertheless, I support it because I don’t think that it threatens the Slovak Republic in any way, rather, on the contrary,” she pointed out.
According to Caputova, the American side doesn’t have to sign the interpretation clause. We’ll attach to the agreement our interpretation in line with how it is interpreted by the Government members and me. That means, it is how we read the agreement, what we see there, what we don’t see there,” she said. Theoretically, it’s possible that the USA would reject the clause. “If it [USA] rejects it [the agreement], then we aren’t interested in signing the agreement, because this is what we insist on in this agreement,” she added.
The DCA deal was greenlighted by the Government last week. It still needs to be passed by Parliament and ratified by the president. The DCA would enable American military forces to use Slovakia’s Malacky-Kuchyna and Sliac military airbases and other facilities and premises by agreement for a period of ten years. The Government representatives declared that the agreement doesn’t endanger Slovakia’s sovereignty.
The opposition criticises the agreement and talks about creating US military bases in Slovakia, bringing US troops closer to the Russian border and curtailing the competencies of our state authorities. Several former politicians as well as the extra-parliamentary Voice-SD called on the head of state to approach the Constitutional Court with the defence agreement.