Home NEWS International News Slovak and Ukrainian leaders meet, commit to strengthen cooperation

Slovak and Ukrainian leaders meet, commit to strengthen cooperation

On April 11, consultations between the governments of Ukraine and Slovakia headed by the two countries’ prime ministers took place in Michalovce City, east of Slovakia.

The parties discussed several critical issues of mutual interest to the two countries, including energy, economic cooperation, and humanitarian support for Ukraine.

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“The lesson from today is that you have to put aside fear, and prejudices, bring people together, remove bureaucratic obstacles and you will find that difficult decisions can be made,” declared the Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic, Robert Fico.

“I asked my cabinet ministers to take into account when negotiating with Ukrainian partners the gravity of tasks the members of the Ukrainian government have to deal with compared to their Slovak counterparts. Let them abstain from the typical bureaucratic approach that sometimes prevents us from taking quick decisions in Slovakia. I think we succeeded, because not only today, but also during the preparation of joint documents, the most important of which is the joint road map, we showed that we are interested in being good neighbors,” added the Slovak Prime Minister.

During the meeting, Robert Fico reiterated that the use of military force in Ukraine was a gross violation of international law and emphasized that Ukraine needs help and solidarity. He called the end of the war as soon as possible and the establishment of peace a priority.

In this context, he offered Ukrainian partners maximum cooperation in the search for peaceful solutions, such as the upcoming international summit in Switzerland. The Slovak Prime Minister also once again expressed support for Ukraine’s interest in becoming a member of the European Union.

A significant outcome of the meeting was the agreement on improving the energy connection on the Mukachevo – Veľké Kapušany route.

“We have already shown great help in the reverse gas flow in the past, now we realize how important the energy connection is. I would like to emphasize that energy infrastructure is the most frequent target of attacks during this war conflict, and therefore we understand Ukraine’s need to secure sufficient electricity supply,” noted PM Fico.

In the energy sector, the partners also discussed the need to diversify gas imports to Europe. The representatives of Slovakia and Ukraine discussed also military help, specifically with the demining of Ukrainian territories.

“We also talked about special multi-purpose excavators,” explained Fico.

He added that the Slovak Republic is still ready to cooperate with regards to military supplies on a commercial basis, and the Minister of Defense of the Slovak Republic, Robert Kaliňák, and the Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Ivan Havryliuk, also conducted negotiations along these terms.

At the same time, Slovakia offered Ukraine assistance in providing health care for people affected by the war. A topic of the negotiations was also the export of agricultural products from Ukraine. In this context, Robert Fico stated that Slovakia will provide transitional corridors for the export of Ukrainian agricultural products to countries that need them.

“However, I explained to the Prime Minister how important it is to protect the interests of Slovak farmers, and unless a joint solution is found, a ban on the import of 14 agricultural products will continue to apply,” he stated.

At the meeting in Michalovce, the Slovak and Ukrainian ministers agreed on establishing a railway direct connection between Kyiv and Košice. They also agreed on refurbishing the Vyšné Nemecké border crossing to increase its capacity. As part of cross-border cooperation, Robert Fico offered the Ukraine representatives expertise and cooperation of cities and municipalities from the region of eastern Slovakia. Robert Fico described the meeting of members of the Slovak and Ukrainian governments as highly constructive.

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