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Ukrainian, Slovak Prime Ministers outline bilateral priorities in first phone call

Denys Shmyhal and Robert Fico charted priority directions in their first conversation since Fico took office, focusing on key areas such as rebuilding, energy ties, and border crossings.
A phone conversation between Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico on 4 December 2023. Credit: Denys Shmyhal/Facebook

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal held his first conversation with newly appointed Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico on Monday, during which the two leaders mapped out key areas for bilateral cooperation, Shmyhal announced on Facebook.

According to Shmyhal, restoration efforts, energy, and border infrastructure development were highlighted as priorities. He voiced Ukraine’s need for engineering equipment from Slovakian companies for humanitarian demining operations.

“We are counting on the participation of Slovak companies in various areas of Ukraine’s recovery,” Shmyhal stated. He also noted appreciation for Slovakia’s assistance with electricity supplies to Ukraine.

The prime ministers additionally raised the border situation as Slovak truckers have initiated a blockade of truck traffic at the Vyšné Nemecké-Uzhhorod border crossing.

“It was noted that the transit of priority cargo is carried out unhindered. We expect to sign an intergovernmental agreement on control at joint checkpoints in the near future,” Shmyhal said.

Per Slovak press agency TASR, Fico confirmed to Shmyhal that Slovakia is interested in providing humanitarian aid to Ukraine and suggested meeting at the start of next year.

However, Fico ruled out any future weapons or ammunition deliveries from Slovakia. He expressed readiness to help with demining efforts, humanitarian assistance, energy cooperation, and monitoring of Ukraine’s civil nuclear facilities.

Fico further stated an import ban on Ukrainian agricultural goods would remain to avoid harming Slovakian farmers and food producers. He reiterated Slovakia’s support for Ukraine’s European aspirations but only with Western Balkan states.

On 21 November, Slovakia’s parliament approved Prime Minister Robert Fico’s newly formed government along with its policy agenda, including a pledge to stop state military assistance to Ukraine.

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