Slovak foreign minister Blanar meets Lavrov in Turkey

Slovakia’s Foreign Minister Juraj Blanar held talks with Russia’s Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of a diplomatic forum in Turkey, the countries said

By REUTERS
March 03, 2024
Russia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov speaks during a press conference. — AFP/File

BRATISLAVA: A senior member of Slovakia’s government met his Russian counterpart on Saturday in a rare high-level encounter between a European Union member state and a country the EU has sought to isolate.

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Slovakia’s Foreign Minister Juraj Blanar held talks with Russia’s Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of a diplomatic forum in Turkey, the countries said.

The meeting, one of the few involving senior European and Russian officials since Moscow’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, was immediately criticised by Slovak opposition parties. Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, who has opposed sending state military aid to Ukraine, said the encounter “was an example of our balanced and sovereign” foreign policy. Slovakia’s Defence Minister Robert Kalinak met his U.S. counterpart, Lloyd Austin, on Friday.

Fico also said Blanar and Lavrov spoke about the possibilities a Ukraine peace summit in Switzerland can bring.

Blanar said in a statement he reiterated the Slovak position that the conflict between Ukraine and Russia did not have a military solution, and urged peace talks.

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