Bratislava, Slovakia — Wednesday’s Slovak parliament approved a defense military treaty with the United States.
The Defense Cooperation Agreement passed 79-60 in a 150-seat parliament in a split vote between members of the four-party ruling coalition and the opposition.
The treaty will allow the US military to use two Slovak air force bases (Malacky-Kuchya and Sliač) for 10 years, and NATO member Slovakia will receive $ 100 million from the United States to modernize them.
The agreement was signed in Washington on February 3 by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Slovak Defense Minister Yaroslav Nad. It needs to be ratified by President Zuzana Chaptova, who supports it.
The vote was held in fear that Russia might invade Ukraine. Moscow has gathered more than 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border, but claims it has no plans to attack. Slovakia borders Ukraine.
The treaty is endorsed by the government of Prime Minister Eduardo Höger, who stated that it would “significantly enhance our security.” However, the agreement is strongly opposed by opponents who endanger the sovereignty of the country, permanently station US troops on Slovak territory, and even allow the deployment of nuclear weapons in Slovakia.
The Slovak and US governments have rejected these accusations.
“Today’s agreement does not create a permanent US base or military presence in Slovakia, and the agreement fully respects Slovakia’s sovereignty and law,” Blinken signed at the US State Department on Thursday. Said in the formula.
Thousands gathered against the deal when lawmakers were discussing it in front of the Capitol on Tuesday.
The protest united our Slovak opposition, including the social democracy of our far-right People’s Party Our Slovakia and the left-wing former Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico.
The United States has such agreements with 23 other NATO member states, including Poland and Hungary, two other countries adjacent to Ukraine on the eastern side of the alliance.
Certain deployments of the US military require approval by the Slovak government and parliament.