Archive for Slovakia
The U.S. Embassy in Bratislava will move to another building in the capital, because its current seat does not meet its own security criteria, according to a press release from the embassy. A new embassy will be constructed elsewhere in the city. “We will be sorry to leave Hviezdoslavovo námestie [Hviezdoslav Square],” Ambassador Theodore Sedgwick is quoted as saying. “The embassy has had a long and proud history at its current location, especially as a beacon of hope and freedom throughout the dark days of communism. However, the State Department makes security its number one priority.” The embassy building was originally purchased in 1948 and shortly after the Velvet Revolution became the seat of the U.S. Consulate General. When Slovakia became an independent country Jan. 1, 1993, the Consulate General was upgraded to full embassy status. However, following the terror attacks in the United States in September 2001, the country’s diplomatic missions around the world were heavily upgraded. The embassy established a security zone with a high fence around its compound in Bratislava’s historical center, provoking protests by inhabitants and local politicians who resented the restriction on their movement. Once the embassy moves, the street in front of the building on Hviezdoslavovo námestie will once again be accessible to the general public.
Newsline: Japan appoints new ambassadors to Netherlands, Sweden, Slovakia, Azerbaijan, Zambia, Panama, South Sudan
The Japanese government on Friday appointed new ambassadors to the Netherlands, Sweden and 5 other nations, all effective the same day. Masaru Tsuji, 62, who previously served as ambassador to Croatia from January 2012, was appointed as ambassador to the Netherlands, while Seiji Morimoto, 62, was appointed as ambassador to Sweden. The other appointments are Akio Egawa, 62, as ambassador to Slovakia; Tsuguo Takahashi, 62, as ambassador to Azerbaijan; Kiyoshi Koinuma, 58, as ambassador to Zambia; Hiroaki Isobe, 58, as ambassador to Panama; Takeshi Akamatsu, 50, as ambassador to South Sudan.
A man pretending to be a Polish diplomat attempted to smuggle nearly 600 cartons of cigarettes with Ukrainian control stamps from Ukraine to Slovakia. The tax evasion might have exceeded 16,500 euros, the SITA newswire reported.
Ondrej Dostal, a member of the National Council of Slovakia, caused a stir at the anniversary celebration of the CCP’s founding of the People’s Republic of China at Hotel Borik in Bratislava, Slovakia, on Sept. 28. Dostal, who is also the vice president of the Human Rights Committee of the Slovak National Council, got thrown out by security after trying to hand the Chinese ambassador a book he didn’t want: “A China More Just,” by disappeared human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng. At the embassy function, Dostal walked up to Chinese Ambassador Gu Ziping during the reception and tried to hand him the book, along with a letter. In the letter, Dostal asks the ambassador to help work to free Gao Zhisheng. The prominent human rights attorney has been severely persecuted by the communist regime in China for his human rights work and criticism of the regime’s human right’s abuses, and his whereabouts is currently unknown. “I join my voice to the voices of world’s democratic public who requests the release of Gao Zhisheng to freedom,” the letter says. The ambassador did not take kindly to Dostal’s appeal, however. After realizing who the author of the book was, he refused to accept it. After Dostal had tried to give it to other embassy personnel, he was escorted off the premises by the diplomatic security police. The incident has drawn significant attention in Slovakia. Secretary of Interior Daniel Lipsic, later commented on the matter in a statement, saying that Slovakia has freedom of speech and that foreign diplomats should respect this. “If an invited guest, no matter if he is a member of parliament or not, is not guilty of any violations, there is no need for intervention,” he said, and added that the matter will be investigated. The Chinese Embassy, however, retorted in a statement that Dostal had come to the embassy function with “ulterior motives” and that he had “seriously damaged the friendship between the two countries and intervened in China’s internal affairs” by trying to hand the ambassador a book.
The Swedish government said it would close six Swedish embassies, including five in Europe, this year and open 10 new embassies. Embassies facing closure were based in European Union members Bulgaria, Ireland, Luxembourg, Slovakia, and Slovenia. “Within the framework of the close cooperation that exists between the EU member states, there is scope for developing new forms for maintaining bilateral contacts in future,” Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said. Meanwhile, Sweden is to upgrade its missions in Albania, Kosovo, Georgia and Moldova to embassies. The sixth embassy to be closed was in Dakar, Senegal, while section offices were to be upgraded in Senegal’s West African neighbours Burkina Faso, Liberia and Mali as well as Rwanda, Bolivia and Cambodia.