BRATISLAVA, Slovakia, March 30, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An AJC leadership delegation met with the President of the Slovak National Council (Parliament), Andrej Danko, and State Secretary for Foreign and European Affairs Ivan Korčok during a two-day visit to the Central European nation's capital.
This latest AJC visit to Slovakia came immediately after AJC Central Europe, the global advocacy organization's newest office in Europe, was launched at a gala in Warsaw. The 34-member delegation's visit coincided with a four-day visit to Israel by Slovak President Andrej Kiska, accompanied by Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák and other officials.
Slovakia is one of the seven countries in the region that AJC Central Europe is engaging. The others, in addition to Poland, are the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, and Lithuania. AJC delegations visited those countries, too, after a series of meetings in Poland, where the office is based, prior to and the morning after the gala.
"AJC Central Europe enables us to deepen our engagement with Slovakia and other significant countries in the region," said AJC President John Shapiro, who led the delegation. The government of Slovakia has expressed enthusiastic support for AJC Central Europe.
In addition to discussions in the Foreign Ministry and at the Parliament, with President Danko and National Council vice presidents representing members of the governing coalition, the delegation met with leaders of the country's Jewish community and were hosted at a reception by U.S. Ambassador Adam Sterling.
Among principal topics discussed were the roles and specific concerns of the four Central European "Visegrád" countries within the European Union, the strategic vulnerabilities of Slovakia and its neighbors and NATO's responsibilities to defend against external threats, and the local and regional political appeal of extreme nationalism. Officials expressed support for the well-being of the Jewish community and strong interest in deepening ties with Israel.
AJC engages with Slovak diplomats across the U.S. and Europe, and the global Jewish advocacy organization meets with senior Slovak officials each year on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
Rabbi Andrew Baker, AJC Director of International Jewish Affairs, who accompanied the delegation, was involved in early negotiations with the Slovak government on compensation for former Jewish communal property, participated in NATO aspirant summits in Bratislava and neighboring countries, and visited last in 2012 at the invitation of Prime Minister Robert Fico.
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SOURCE American Jewish Committee