“It’s a real pleasure to welcome Prime Minister Fico to Brussels today. I am especially pleased to see you at NATO Headquarters so recently after your election win last month, Slovakia is a valued ally,” said the Secretary General in front of members of the media.
“I would like to point out that my visit today is symbolic too and I would like to reaffirm that NATO remains a cornerstone of our security. That’s why I am here, to reconfirm our commitment,” responded the Prime Minister.
The two met earlier to discuss several key issues, including the upcoming NATO Summit in Chicago, where heads of state and government are set to discuss three main topics, Afghanistan, capabilities and partnerships on 20 and 21 May.
On Afghanistan, Prime Minister Fico confirmed to the Secretary General that Slovakia will remain committed to the transformation process that will hand over security responsibility to the Afghans by the end of 2014. The Slovak Prime Minister also indicated that his country was looking at what Slovakia might do for Afghanistan beyond 2014.
Smart Defence was also discussed and both the Secretary General and the Prime Minister agreed that by cooperating and collaborating Allies could find ways to acquire those capabilities that the Alliance needs despite the tough economic times. “We consider Smart Defence a tool to bridge the gap between capabilities and needs,” said Prime Minister Fico.
Before leaving the Headquarters, the NATO Secretary General complimented the Slovakian leader for being a strong advocate for enlargement and in particular with the Balkan nations. “Finally, I would like to thank you for the valuable role that Slovakia plays in the region, especially in the Western Balkans. At Chicago, we will send a clear signal that NATO’s door remains open, because Euro-Atlantic integration remains the most effective way to bring lasting stability in Europe.”